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THE 

ANIMAL STORY BOOK 



THE FAIRY BOOK SERIES 

Edited by Andrew Lang 
New and Cheaper Issue 



EACH VOLUME, $1.00 NET 



THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 138 Hlustrations. 
THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 
THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 101 Illustrations. 
THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 65 Illustrations. 
THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustrations. 
THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. 
THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 
THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations. 
THE RED TRUE STORY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 
THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. 
THE RED BOOK OF ANIMAL STORIES. With 65 Il- 
lustrations. 
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS. With 

66 Illustrations. 
THE VIOLET FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 64 other Illustrations. 
THE CRIMSON FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 43 other Illustrations. 
THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 42 other Illustrations. 
THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 

43 other Illustrations. 
THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 50 other Illustrations. 
THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 44 other Illustrations. 
THE RED ROMANCE BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 44 other Illustrations. 
THE BOOK OF PRINCES AND PRINCESSES. By Mrs. 

Lang. With 8 Coloured Plates and 43 other Illustrations. 
THE RED BOOK OF HEROES. By Mrs. Lang. With 

8 Coloured Plates and 40 other Illustrations. 
THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK. With 6 Coloured Plates and 

46 other Illustrations. 
THE ALL SORTS OF STORIES BOOK. By Mrs. Lang. 

With 5 Coloured Plates and 43 other Illustrations. 
THE BOOK OF SAINTS AND HEROES. By Mrs. Lang. 

With 12 Coloured Plates and 18 other Illustrations. 
THE STRANGE STORY BOOK. By Mrs. Lang. With 

Portrait of Andrew Lang, 12 Coloured Platea and 18 

other Illustrations. , 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO., NEW YORK 




AIs'DKOCLES IN THE ARENA 



THE 



Animal Story Book 



EDITED BY 

ANDEEW LANG 



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS BY H. J. FORD 




LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 

FOURTH AVENUE b- 30TH STREET, NEW YORK 

LONDON, BOMBAY, CALCUTTA AND MADRAS 

I914 



THiL c.£W YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

ASTOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUNDATIOW8, 



Copyright, 1896, 
By Longmans, Green, & Co. 

All rights reserved. 



First Edition, Septei1pek^1'i8(j'o. -,;; v,' 
Reprinted, November,* 1895, jux/, i8gip,' 
June, 1904, February, 1909, 
September, 1914. 



^0 



To 
MASTER FREDERICK LONGMAN 

This year our Book for Christmas varies, 
Deals not with History nor Fairies 
(/ canU help thinking, children, you 
Prefer a book which is not true). 
We leave these intellectual feasts, 
To talk of Fishes, Birds, and Beasts. 

These — though his aim is hardly steady — 
These are, I think, a theme for Freddy ! 
Trout, though he is not itp to fly. 
He soph, will caich. — a.< well as I / 
So. Freddy, take this artless rhyme, 
^ird be a Sportspian in your time .^ 



PREFACE 

CniLDREisr who have read our Fairy Books may have 
noticed that there are not so very many fairies in 
the stories after alL The most common characters 
are birds, beasts, and fishes, who talk and act like 
Christians. The reason of this is that the first peo- 
ple who told the stories were not very clever, or, if 
they were clever, they had never been taught to read 
and write, or to distinguish between Vegetable, Ani- 
mal, and Mineral. They took it that all things were 
' much of a muchness : ' they were not proud, and 
held that beast and bird could talk like themselves, 
only, of course, in a different language. 

After offering, then, so many Fairy Books (though 
the stories are not all told yet), we now present you 
(in return for a coin or two) with a book about the 
friends of children and of fairies — the beasts. The 
stories are- all true, more or less, but it is possible 
that Monsieur Dumas and Monsieur Thdophile 
Gautier rather improved upon their tales. I own 
that I have my doubts about the bears and serpents 
in the tales by the Baron Wogan. This gentleman's 
ancestors were famous Irisb people. One of them 



viii PREFACE 

held Cromweirs soldiers back when they were pur- 
suing Charles II. after Worcester fight. He also 
led a troop of horse from Dover to the Highlands, 
where he died of a wound, after fighting for the King. 
The next Wogan was a friend of Pope and Swift ; 
he escaped from prison after Preston fight, in 1715, 
and, later, rescued Prince Charlie's mother from con- 
finement in Austria, and took her to marry King 
James. He next became Governor of Don Quixote's 
province, La Mancha, in Spain, and was still alive 
and merry in 1752. Baron Wogan, descended from 
these heroes, saw no longer any king to fight for, so 
he went to America and fought bears. No doubt he 
was as brave as his ancestors, but whether all his 
stories of serpents are absolutely correct I am not 
so certain. People have also been heard to express 
doubts about Mr. Waterton and the Cayman. The 
terrible tale of Mr. Gully and his deeds of war I know 
to be accurate, and the story of Oscar, the sentimental 
tyke, is believed in firmly by the lady who wrote it. 
As for the stories about Greek and Roman beasts, 
Pliny, who tells them, is a most respectable author. 
On the whole, then, this is more or less of a true 
story-book. 

There ought to be a moral; if so, it probably is 
that we should be kind to all sorts of animals, and, 
above all, knock trout on the head when they are 
caught, and don't let the poor things jump about till 
they die. A chapter of a very learned sort was written 
about the cleverness of beasts, proving that there must 



PREFACE it 

have been great inventive geniuses among beasts long 
ago, and that now they have rather got into a habit 
(which I think a very good one) of being content 
with the discoveries of their ancestors. This led 
naturally to some observations on Instinct and 
Reason ; but there may be children who are glad that 
there was no room for this chapter. 

The longer stories from Monsieur Dumas were 
translated from the French by Miss Cheape. 

' A Rat Tale ' is by Miss Evelyn Grieve, who 
knew the rats. 

'Mr. Gully' is by Miss Elspeth Campbell, to 
whom Mr. Gully belonged. 

'The Dog of Montargis,' 'More Faithful than 
Favoured,' and 'Androcles' are by Miss Eleanor 
Sellar. 

Snakes, Bears, Ants, Wolves, Monkeys, and some 
Lions are by Miss Lang. 

' Two Highland Dogs ' is by Miss Goodrich Freer. 

' Fido ' and ' Oscar ' and ' Patch ' are by Miss A. 
M. AUeyne. 

' Djijam ' is by his master. 

' The Starling of Segringen ' and ' Grateful Dogs ' 
are by Mr. Bartells. 

'Tom the Bear,' 'The Frog,' ' Jacko the Monkey' 
and ' Gazelle ' are from Dumas by Miss Blackley. 

All the rest are by Mrs. Lang. 



CONTENTS 



* Tom ' ; an Adventure in the 
Life of a Bear in Paris 

Sal the Panther .... 

The Buzzard and the Priest 

Cowper and his Hares . . 

A Rat Tale 

Siiake Stories .... 
, What Elephants can Do . 

The Dog of Montargis . . 

How a Beaver builds his 
House 

The War Horse of Alex- 
ander 

Stories about Bears . . . 

Stories about Ants . . . 

The Taming of an Otter . 

The Story of Androdes an 
the Lion 

Monsieur Dumas and his 
Beasts 

The Adventures of Pyramus 

The Story of a Weasel 

Stories about Wolves . 

T'wo Highland Dogs . 

Monkey Tricks and Sally at 
the Zoo 

How the Cayman was killed 

The Story of Fido . . . 

Beasts Besieged .... 



91 

99 
154 
160 
163 
174 

191 
194 

200 
205 



PAGE 

Mr. Gully 209 

Stories from Pliny . . . . 213 
The Strange History of 

Cagnotte 215 

Still Waters Run Deep; or, 

the Dancing Dog .... 219 
Theo and his Horses: Jane, 

Betsy, and Blanche . . . 225 
Madame Th€ophile and the 

Parrot 231 

The Battle of the Mxdlets and 

the Dolphins 233 

Monkey Stories 237 

Eccentric Bird Builders . . 245 

The Ship of the Desert . . 248 
Hame, home, hame, where I 

fain wad be 253 

Nests for Dinner .... 257 

Fire-eating Djijam .... 259 

The Story of the Dog Oscar . 264 

Dolphins at Play .... 274 

The Starling of Segring en . 278 

Grateful Dogs 280 

Gazelle 282 

Cockatoo Stories 289 

The Otter who was reared by 

a Cat 292 

Stories about Lions .... 295 

Builders and Weavers . . . 307 



xu 



CONTENTS 



More Faithful than Favoured 

Dolphins, Turtles, and Cod . 
-More about Elephants . 

Bungey 

Lions and their Ways . 

The History ofJacko I. 

Signora and Lori . . 

Of the Linnet, Popinjay, or 
Parrot, and other Birds 
that can Speak . . 

Patch and the Chickens 

The Fierce Falcon . . 



PAGE 

310 
316 
321 
329 
333 
338 
348 



351 
354 
356 



PAGE 

Mr. Bolt, the Scotch Terrier . 360 
A Raven''s Funeral .... 364 
A Strange Tiger .... 368 
Halcyons and their Bio- 
graphers 373 

The Story of a Frog ... 375 
The Woodpecker Tapping on 

the Hollow Oak Tree . . 384 

Dogs Over the Water ... 387 

The Capocier and his Mate . 394 

Owls and Marmots .... 396 

Eagles' Nests 399 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

Tom is invited to the Ball 3 

* The Minuet was Tom's greatest Triumph ' 9 

Tom discovered in the Box 12 

' They at last all took hold of his TaiV 16 

Terror of the Orang-outang at Sa'i 17 

Sa'i has to take a Pill 21 

The Cats no match for the Buzzard 27 

The Buzzard carries off Hat and Wig 28 

'Seeing such a number of Rats, he left his Horses and ran for his 

Life' 37 

The Rats in the Larder 41 

The Baron kills the Snake 44 

The Baron slays the Horned Snake 46 

How the Indians make the Horned Snake disgorge his Dinner . . 48 

The Elephant helps the Gardener 53 

De Narsac recognises his Friend's Dog 57 

The Dog flies at Macaire in the presence of the King 61 

The Baron kills the Bear 75 

The Grizzly 79 

Androcles in the Lion's Cave 93 

Androcles in the Arena 97 

* Monsieur Dumas, may I accommodate you with my Monkey and 

my Parrots' 107 

The Auvergnat and his Monkey Ill 

The Last of the Laidmanoirs and Mademoiselle Desgarcins . . 120 

Dumas arrives at Stora with his Vulture 127 

' IVs a regular Kennel ' 131 

Jugurtha becomes Diogenes ... 135 

Pritchard and the Hens 142 

* Pritchard reappeared next moment with a Hare in his Mouth ' . 145 

Cartouche outwits Pyramus 156 

Mademoiselle de Laistre and her Weasel 161 

* When Day broke ' 166 



xiv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

The Death of the Famous Wolf of G^oaudan 171 

* The Long Vigil ' 187 

The Capture of the Cayman 197 

The Wounding of Fido 201 

The Dream of the Hungry Lion 207 

Cagnotte comes out of his Skin 217 

* And what do you Think she Saw ' 221 

Blanche telling Ghost Stories to Jane in the Stable 227 

How the Dolphins helped the Fishermen to catch the Mullets . . 234 

Two Oran Otans 238 

The Baboons ivho stole the Poor Man's Dinner 241 

Birds' Nests for Dinner 258 

'In the full enjoymetit of a large lighted Log on the Dining-room 

Carpet ' 261 

* Oscar would charge and rout them ' 265 

* Oscar felt rather Frightened ' 269 

* Oh, Oscar, Oscar, lad what have you Done ? ' 271 

The Boy goes to School on the Dolphin's back 275 

Dumas finds Joseph standing on Gazelle's back 284 

Dumas brings Gazelle to No. 109 Faubourg St.-Denis 288 

The Lion caught in the Pit 297 

The Ambush 300 

' All Three stopped to gaze at the Man who dared to put himself in 

their Path' 303 

' And pinned Him to the Ground' 314 

'Long, Long Ago.' The Elephant dreams of his Old Com- 
panions 323 

The Elephant falls on his knees before the little Scotch Terrier . . 327 

Bungey at the Spanish Ambassador's House 331 

The Hottentot noticed a huge Lion lying in the Water 335 

Annoyance of the Captain on finding his Flask of Rum upset . . 339 

T^ori refuses to Share with the Signora 349 

A Raven's Funeral 365 

The Tiger and his Friend 369 

Love's disgraceful Behaviour out Shooting 377 

The Sole Result of his Day's Sport 380 

Mademoiselle Camargo becomes a Barometer 381 

The Faithful Spaniel 389 



* TOM* 1 

AN ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF 

A BEAR IN PARIS 

Some sixty years ago and more, a well-known artist named 
Decamps lived in Paris. He was the intimate friend of 
some of the first authors, artists, and scientific men of the 
day, and was devotedly fond of animals of all sorts. He 
loved to paint them, and he kept quite a small menagerie 
in his studio where a bear, a monkey, a tortoise, and a 
frog lived (more or less) in peace and hannony together. 

The bear's name was ' Tom,' the monkey was called 
' Jacko I.,'^ the frog was 'Mademoiselle Camargo,* and 
the tortoise ' Gazelle.' 

Here follows the story of Tom, the bear. 

It was the night of Shrove Tuesday in the year 1832. 
Tom had as yet only spent six months in Paris, but he 
was really one of the most attractive bears j^ou could wish 
to meet. 

He ran to open the door when the bell rang, he 
mounted guard for hours together, halberd in hand, 
standing on his hind legs, and he danced a minuet with 
infinite grace, holding a broomstick behind his head. 

He had spent the whole day in the exercise of these 
varied accomplishments, to the great delight of the fre- 
quenters of his master's studio, and had just retired to the 

1 From Alexandre Dumas. 

2 To distinguish him from Jacko II., a monkey belonging to Tony 
Johannot, the painter. 



2 ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 

press which did duty as his hutch, to seek a little repose, 
when there was a knock at the street door. Jacko instantly 
showed such signs of joy that Decamps made a shrewd 
guess that the visitor could be no other than Fan, the 
self-elected tutor in chief to the two animals — nor was he 
mistaken. The door opened, Fan appeared, dressed as a 
clown, and Jacko flung himself in rapture into his arms. 

' Very good, very good,' said Fan, placing the monkey 
on the table and handing him a cane. 'You're really 
a charming creature. Carry arms, present arms, make 
ready, fire ! Capital ! ' 

' I'll have a complete uniform made for you, and you 
shall mount guard instead of me. But I haven't come 
for you to-night ; it's your friend Tom I want. Where may 
he be?' 

' Why, in his hutch, I suppose,' said Decamps. 

' Tom ! here, Tom ! ' cried Fan. 

Tom gave a low growl, just to show that he knew very 
well who they were talking of, but that he was in no 
hurry to show himself. 

' Well ! ' exclaimed Fan, ' is this how my orders are 
obeyed? Tom, my friend, don't force me to resort to 
extreme measures.' 

Tom stretched one great paw beyond the cupboard 
without allowing any more of his person to be seen, and 
began to yawn plaintively like a child just wakened from 
its first sleep. 

'Where is the broomstick?' inquired Fan in threaten- 
ing tones, and rattling the collection of Indian bows, 
arrows, and spears which stood behind the door. 

'Ready!' cried Decamps, pointing to Tom, who, on 
hearing these well known sounds, had roused himself 
without more ado, and advanced towards his tutor with a 
perfectly innocent and unconscious air. 

* That's right,' said Fan : ' now be a good fellow, par- 
ticularly as one has come all this way on purpose to fetch 
you.' 



ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 5 

Tom waved his head up and down. 

^ So, so — now shake hands with your friends : — first 
rate ! * 

' Do 3^ou mean to take him with you ? * asked 
Decamps. 

' Rather ! ' replied Fan ; ' and give him a good time into 
the bargain.' 

' And where are you going ? ' 

' To the Carnival Masked Ball, nothing less ! Now 
then Tom, my friend, come along. We've got a cab out- 
side waiting by the hour.' 

As though fully appreciating the force of this argu- 
ment, Tom trundled down stairs four steps at a time 
followed by his friend. The driver opened the cab door, 
and Tom, under Fan's guidance, stepped in as if he had 
done nothing else all his life. 

' My eye ! that's a queer sort of a fancy dress,' said 
cabby ; ' anyone might take him for a real bear. Where 
to, gentlemen ? ' 

' Odeon Theatre,' said Fan. 

* Grrrooonnn,' observed Tom. 

* All right,' said the cabman. ' Keep your temper. 
It* s a good step from here, but we shall get there all in 
good time.' 

Half an hour later the cab drew up at the door of the 
theatre. Fan got down first, paid the driver, handed out 
Tom, took two tickets, and passed in without exciting any 
special attention. 

At the second turn they made round the crush-room 
people began to follow Fan. The perfection with which 
the newcomer imitated the walk and movements of the 
animal whose skin he wore attracted the notice of some 
lovers of natural history. They pressed closer and 
closer, and anxious to find out whether he was equally 
clever in imitating the bear's voice, they began to pull his 
hairs and prick his ears — ' Grrrooonnn,' said Tom. 



6 ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 

A murmur of admiration ran through the crowd — 
nothing could be more lifelike. 

Fan led Tom to the buffet and offered him some little 
cakes, to which he was very partial, and which he pro- 
ceeded to swallow with so admirable a pretence of voracity 
that the bystanders burst out laughing. Then the mentor 
poured out a tumbler full of water, which Tom took gingerly 
between his paws, as he was accustomed to whenever 
Decamps did him the honour of permitting him to appear 
at table, and gulped down the contents at one draught. 
Enthusiasm knew no bounds! Indeed such was the 
delight and interest shown that when, at length. Fan 
wished to leave the buffet, he found they were hemmed 
in by so dense a crowd that he felt nervous lest Tom 
should think of clearing the road with claws and teeth. 
So he promptly led his bear to a corner, placed him with 
his back against the wall, and told him to stay there till 
further orders. 

As has been already mentioned, this kind of drill was 
quite familiar to Tom, and was well suited to his natural 
indolence, and when a harlequin offered his hat to com- 
plete the picture, he settled himself comfortably, gravely 
laying one great paw on his wooden gun. 

'Do you happen to know,' said Fan to the obliging 
harlequin, ' who you have lent your hat to? ' 

' No,' replied harlequin. 

' You mean to say you don't guess ? ' 

' Not in the least.' 

' Come, take a good look at him. From the grace of 
all his movements, from the manner in which he carries 
his head, slightly on one side, like Alexander the Great — ■ 
from the admirable imitations of the bear's voice — you 
don't mean to say you don't recognise him? ' 

' Upon my word I don't.' 

' Odry ! ' ^ whispered Fan mysteriously ; ' Odry, in his 
costume from ' ' The Bear and the Pacha " ! ' 

1 A well-known actor of the time. 



ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 7 

* Oh, but he acts a icliite bear, you know.' 

* Just so ; that's why he has chosen a brown bear's skin 
as a disguise.' 

'Ho, ho ! You're a good one,' cried harlequin. 

' Grrooonnn,' observed Tom. 

' Well, now you mention it, I do recognise his voice. 
Really, I wonder it had not struck me before. Do ask 
him to disguise it better.' 

' Yes, yes,' said Fan, moving towards the ball-room, 
* but it will never do to worry him. However, I'll try to 
persuade him to dance a minuet presently.' 

' Oh, could you really? ' 

' He promised to do so. Just give a hint to your 
friends and try to prevent their teasing him.* 

' All right.' 

Tom made his way through the crowd, whilst the 
delighted harlequin moved from one mask to another, 
telling his news with warnings to be discreet, which were 
well received. Just then, too, the sounds of a lively galop 
were heard, and a general rush to the ball-room took place, 
harlequin only pausing to murmur in Tom's ear : ' I know 
you, my fine mask.' 

' Grroooonnn,' replied Tom. 

' Ah, it's all very well to growl, but you'll dance a 
minuet, won't you, old fellow ? ' 

Tom waved his head up and down as his way was 
when anyone asked him a question, and harlequin, satis- 
fied with this silent consent, ran off to find a columbine 
and to dance the galop. 

Meanwhile, Tom remained alone with the waiters; 
motionless at his post, but with longing eyes turned 
towards the counter on which the most tempting piles 
of cake were heaped on numerous dishes. The waiters, 
remarking his wrapt attention, and pleased to tempt a 
customer, stretched out a dish, Tom extended his paw 
and gingerly took a cake — then a second — then a third : 
the waiters seemed never tired of offering, or Tom of 



8 ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 

accepting these delicacies, and so, when the galop ended 
and the dancers returned to the crush-room, he had made 
short work of some dozens of little cakes. 

Harlequin had recruited a columbine and a shepherdess, 
and he introduced these ladies as partners for the promised 
minuet. With all the air of an old friend he whispered a 
few words to Tom, who, in the best of humours after so 
many cakes, replied with his most gracious growl. The 
harlequin, turning towards the gallery, announced that his 
lordship had much pleasure in complying with the uni- 
versal request, and amidst loud applause, the shepherdess 
took one of Tom's paws and the columbine the other. 
Tom, for his part, like an accomplished cavalier, walked 
between his two partners, glancing at them by turns with 
looks of some surprise, and soon found himself with them 
in the middle of the pit of the theatre which was used as 
a ball-room. All took their places, some in the boxes, 
others in the galleries, the greater number forming a 
circle round the dancers. The band struck up. 

The minuet was Tom's greatest triumph and Fan's 
masterpiece, and with the very first steps success was 
assured and went on increasing with each movement, 
till at the last figure the applause became delirious. Tom 
was swept off in triumph to a stage box where the 
shepherdess, removing her wreath of roses, crowned him 
with it, whilst the whole theatre resounded with the 
applause of the spectators. 

Tom leant over the front of the box with a grace all 
his own ; at the same time the strains of a fresh dance 
were heard, and everyone hurried to secure partners 
except a few courtiers of the new star who hovered round 
in hope of extracting an order for the play from him, but 
Tom only replied to their broadest hints with his perpetual 
* Grroonnn.' 

By degrees this became rather monotonous, and gradu- 
ally Tom's court dwindled away, people murmuring that, 
though his dancing powers were certainly unrivalled, his 



ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 9 

conversation was a trifle insipid. An hour later Tom was 
alone ! So fleeting is public favour. 

And now the hour of departure drew near. The pit 




'THE MINUET WAS TOMS GREATEST TRIUMPH 



was thinning ana the boxes empty, and pale rays of 
morning light were glinting into the hall when the box- 
opener, who was going her rounds, heard sounds of snor- 
ing proceeding from one of the stage boxes. She opened 



lo ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 

the door, and there was Tom, who, tired out after his event- 
ful night, had fallen fast asleep on the floor. The box- 
opener stepped in and politely hinted that it was six 
o'clock and time to go home. 
'Grrooonnn,' said Tom. 

* I hear you,' said the box-opener; * you're asleep, my 
good man, but you'll sleep better still in your own bed. 
Come, come, your wife must be getting quite anxious ! 
Upon my word I don't believe he hears a word I say. 
How heavily he sleeps ! ' And she shook him by the 
shoulder. 

' Grrrooonnn ! ' 

' All right, all right ! This isn't a time to make believe. 
Besides, we all know you. There now, they're putting out 
the lights. Shall I send for a cab for you? ' 

' Grrroooonnn.' 

* Come, come, the Odeon Theatre isn't an inn ; come, 
be off ! Oh, thafs what you're after, is it? Fie, Monsieur 
Odry, fie ! I shall call the guard ; the inspector hasn't 
gone to bed yet. Ah, indeed ! You won't obey rules ! 
You are trying to beat me, are you ? You would beat a 
woman — and a former artiste.to M. Odry, would you ? For 
shame ! But we shall see. Here, help — police — inspec- 
tor—help!' 

' What's the matter? ' cried the fireman on duty. 
' Help ! * screamed the box-opener, ' help ! * 

* What's the matter ? ' asked the sergeant commandmg 
the patrol. 

' Oh, it's old mother what's her name, shrieking for help 
in one of the stage boxes.' 

* Coming! * shouted the sergeant. 

' This way, Mr. Sergeant, this way,' cried the box- 
opener. 

* All right, my dear, here I am. But where are you? * 

' Don't be afraid ; there are no steps — sti'aight on this 
way — he's in the corner. Oh, the rascal, he's as strong 
as a Turk ! ' 



ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR ii 

* Grrrooonnn,* said Tom. 

* There, do you hear him? Is that to be called a Chris- 
tian language ? ' 

' Come, come, my friend,' said the sergeant, who had 
at last managed to distinguish Tom in the faint twilight. 
' We all know what it is to be young — no one likes a joke 
better than I do — but rules are rules, and the hour for 
going home has struck, so right about face, march ! and 
quick step too.' 

' Grrrooonnn ' — 

* Very pretty ; a first-rate imitation. But suppose we try 
something else now for a change. Come, old fellow, step 
out with a good will. Ah! you won't. You're going to 
cut up rough, are you? Here, my man, lay hold and turn 
him out.' 

* He won't walk, sergeant.* 

' Well, what are the butt ends of your muskets for? 
Come, a tap or two will do no harm.* 

' Grrrooonnn — Grrrooonnn — Grrrooonnn — ' 

' Go on, give it him well ! ' 

' I say, sergeant,* said one of the men, ' it strikes me 
he's a real bear. I caught hold of him by the collar just 
now, and the skin seems to grow on the flesh.' 

' Oh, if he's a real bear treat him with every considera- 
tion. His owner might claim damages. Go and fetch 
the fireman's lantern.' 

' Grrrooonnn.* 

'Here's the lantern,* said a man; 'now then, throw 
some light on the prisoner.' 

The soldier obeyed. 

* It is certainly a real snout,' declared the sergeant. 

' Goodness gracious me ! ' shrieked the box-opener as 
she took to her heels, * a real live bear ! ' 

'Well, yes, a real live bear. Let's see if he has any 
name or address on him and take him home. I expect he 
has strayed, and being of a sociable disposition, came in 
to the Masked Ball.* 



2 ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 

' Grrrooonun/ 

' There, you see, he agrees.* 

' Hallo ! ' exclaimed oue of the soldiers. 

' What's the matter? ' 




TOM DISCOVERED IN THE BOX 



* He has a little bag hung round his neck.' 

* Open the bag.' 
' A card.' 

' Read the card.* 

The soldier took it and read : 



ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR 



13 



* My name is Tom. I live at No. 109 Rue Faubourg 
St. -Denis. I have five francs in my purse. Two for a cab, 
and three for whoever takes me home.' 

' True enough; there are the five francs,' cried the ser- 
geant. ' Now then, two volunteers for escort duty.' 

'Here ! ' cried the guard in chorus. 

' Don't all speak at once ! Let the two seniors have 
the benefit of the job ; off with you, my lads.' 

Two of the municipal guards advanced towards Tom, 
slipped a rope round his neck and, for precaution's sake, 
gave it a twist or two round his snout. Tom offered no 
resistance — the butt ends of the muskets had made him 
as supple as a glove. When they were fifty yards from 
the theatre, ' Bah ! ' said one of the soldiers, ' 'tis a fine 
morning. Suppose we don't take a cab. The walk will 
do him good.' 

'Besides,' remarked the other, 'we should each have 
two and a half francs instead of only one and a half.' 

' Agreed.' 

Half an hour later they stood at the door of 109. After 
some knocking, a very sleepy portress looked out. 

'Look here, Mother Wideawake,' said one of the guard; 
* here's one of your lodgers. Do you recognise him? ' 

'Why, I should rather think so. It's Monsieur 
Decamps' bear ! ' 

The same day, Odry the actor received a bill for little 
cakes., amounting to seven francs and a half. 



14 



SAt THE PANTHER ' 

About seventy or eighty years ago two little panthers 
were deserted by their mother in one of the forests of 
Ashantee. They were too young to get food for them- 
selves, and would probably have died had they not been 
found by a passing traveller, and by him taken to the 
palace as a present to the king. Here they lived and 
played happily for several weeks, when one day the elder 
and larger, whose name was Sai, gave his brother, in fun, 
such a dreadful squeeze that, without meaning it, he suffo- 
cated him. This frightened the king, who did not care to 
keep such a powerful pet about him, and he gave him away 
to Mr. Hutchison, an English gentleman, who was a sort 
of governor for the English traders settled in that part of 
Africa. 

Mr. Hutchison and Sai took a great fancy to each 
other, and spent a great deal of time together, and when, 
a few months later, Mr. Hutchison returned to Cape 
Coast he brought Sai with him. The two friends always 
had dinner at the same time, Sai sitting at his master's 
side and eating quietly whatever was given him. In 
general he was quite content with his portion, but once or 
twice, when he was hungrier than usual, he managed to 
steal a fowl out of the dish. For the sake of his manners 
the fowl was always taken from him, although he was 
invariably given some other food to satisfy his hunger. 

At first the inhabitants of the castle and the children 
were much afraid of him, but he soon became very tame, 
1 From Loudon's Magazine of Natural History. 



SAI TEE PANTHER 



IS 



and his teeth and claws were filed so that he should not hurt 
anyone, even in play. When he got a little accustomed 
to the place, he was allowed to go where he liked within 
the castle grounds, and a boy was told off to look after 
him. Sometimes the boy would go to sleep when he 
ought to have been watching his charge, and then Sai, 
who knew perfectly well that this was not at all right, 
would steal quietly away and amuse himself till he thought 
his keeper would be awake again. One day, when he re- 
turned from his wanderings, he found the boy, as usual, 
comfortably curled up in a cool corner of the doorstep 
sound asleep. Sai" looked at him for a moment, and then, 
thinking that it was full time for him to be taught his 
duty, he gave him one pat on his head, which sent the 
boy over like a ninepiu and gave him a good fright, though 
it did not do him any harm. 

Sai was very popular with everybody, but he had his 
own favourites, and the chief of these was the governor, 
whom he could not bear to let out of his sight. When 
his master went out he would station himself at the 
drawing-room window, where he could watch all that was 
going on, and catch the first sight of his returning friend. 
Being by this time nearly grown up, Sai's great body took 
up all the, space, to the great disgust of the children, who 
could see nothing. They tried to make him move, first by 
coaxings and then by threats, but as Sai did not pay the 
smallest attention to either one or the other, they at last 
all took hold of his tail and pulled so hard that he was 
forced to move. 

Strange to say, the black people were a great deal 
more afraid of Sai than any of the white ones, and one of 
his pranks nearly caused the death of an old woman who 
was the object of it. It was her business to sweep out 
and keep clean the great hall of the castle, and one morn- 
ing she was crouching down on all fours with a short 
broom in her hand, thinking of nothing but how to get 
the dust out of the floor, when Sai, who had hidden him- 



i6 



SAI THE PANTHER 



self under a sofa, and was biding his time, suddenly sprang 
on to her back, where he stood triumphantly. The old 




' THEY AT LAST ALL TOOK HOLD OF HIS TAIL ' 



woman believed her last hour had come, and the other 
servants all ran away shrieking, lest it should be their 




TERROK OF THE ORANG-OUTANG AT SAl 



SAI THE PANTHER 19 

turn next. Sai' would not budge from his position till the 
governor, who had been alarmed by the terrible noise, came 
to see what was the matter, and soon made Master Sai" 
behave himself. 

At this time it was settled that Sai* was to travel to 
England under the care of one of his Cape Coast friends 
and be presented to the Duchess of York, who was very 
fond of animals. In those days, of course, journeys took 
much longer than they do now, and there were other 
dangers than any which might arise from storms and 
tempests. While the strong cage of wood and iron was 
being built which was to form Sai's house on the way to 
England, his lady keeper thought it would be a good 
opportunity to make friends with him, and used to spend 
part of every day talking to him and playing with him ; 
for this, as everyone knows, is the only way to gain 
the affection of bird or beast. It was very easy to love 
Sai'; he was so gentle and caressing, especially with 
children ; and he was very handsome besides in his silky 
yellow coat with black spots, which, as the French say, 
does not spoil anything. Many creatures and many men 
might have made a great fuss at being shut into a cage 
instead of being allowed to walk about their own house 
and grounds, but everyone had always been kind to Sai, 
so he took for granted it was all right, and made himself 
as comfortable as he could, and was quite prepared to 
submit to anything disagreeable that he thought reason- 
able. But it very nearly happened that poor Sai" had no 
voyage at all, for while he was being hauled from the 
canoe which had brought him from the shore into the ship, 
the men were so afraid to come near him that they let 
his cage fall into the sea, and if the sailors from the vessel 
had not been very quick in lowering a boat it would have 
been too late to save him. As it was, for many days he 
would not look up or eat or speak, and his friend was 
quite unhappy about him, although the same symptoms 
have sometimes been shown by human beings who have 



20 SAI THE PANTHER 

only been on the sea instead of in it. At last he was 
roused from his sad condition by hearing the lady's voice. 
He raised his head and cocked his ears, first a little, then 
more ; and when she came up to the cage he rolled over 
and over with delight, and howled and cried and tried to 
reach her. When he got a little calmer she told him to 
put his paws through the bars and shake hands, and from 
that moment Sa'i was himself again. 

Now it was a very strange taste on the part of a 
panther whose fathers and grandfathers had lived and 
died in the heart of African forests, but Sai loved nothing 
so much as lavender water, which white people use a 
great deal in hot countries. If anyone took out a hand- 
kerchief which had been sprinkled with lavender water, 
Sai" would instantly snatch it away, and in his delight 
would handle it so roughly that it was soon torn to atoms. 
His friend in charge knew of this odd fancy, and on the 
voyage she amused herself regularly twice a week with 
making a little cup of paper, which she filled with the 
scent and passed through the bars, taking care never to 
give it him till he had drawn back his claws into theii 
sheaths. Directly he got hold of the cup Sai would roll 
over and over it, and would pay no attention to anyone as 
(ong as the smell lasted. It almost seemed as if he liked 
it better than his food ! 

For some reason or other the vessel lay at anchor for 
nearly two months in the river Gaboon, and Sai might 
have been allowed to leave his cage if he had not been an 
animal of such very strong prejudices. Black people he 
could not endure, and, of course, they came daily in swarms 
with food for the ship. Pigs, too, he hated, and they ran 
constantly past his cage, while as for an orang-outang 
monkey about three feet high, which a black trader once 
tried to sell to the sailors, Sai showed such mad symptoms 
at the very sight of it that the poor beast rushed in terror 
to the other end of the vessel, knocking down everything 
that came in its way. If the monkey took some time to 



SAI THE PANTHER 23 

recover from his fright, it was very long before Sai* could 
forget the shock he had received. Day and night he 
watched and listened, and sometimes, when he fancied his 
enemy was near, he would give a low growl and arch his 
back and set up his tail ; yet, as far as we know, he had 
never from his babyhood killed anything. 

But when at last the winds were favourable, and the 
ship set sail for the open sea, other adventures were in 
store for the passengers. Pirates infested the coast of 
Africa in those days, and they came on board and carried 
off everything of value, including the stores of provisions. 
The only things they did not think worth removing were 
the parrots, of which three hundred had been brought 
by the sailors, and as these birds could not stand the cold, 
and died off fast as the ship steered north, Sai' was allowed 
one a day, which just managed to keep him alive. Still, 
there is very little nourishment to be got out of a parrot, 
especially when you eat it with the feathers on, and Sai 
soon became very ill and did not care even for parrots. 
His keeper felt his nose and found it dry and feverish, so 
she begged that she might take him out of his cage and 
doctor him herself. A little while before, Sai would have 
been enchanted to be free, but now he was too ill to 
enjoy anything, and he just stretched himself out on deck, 
with his head on his mistress's feet. Luckily she had 
some fever medicine with her, good for panthers as well 
as men and women, and she made up three large pills 
which she hoped might cure Sai. Of course it was not to 
be expected that he would take them of his own free will, 
so she got the boy who looked after him to hold open his 
mouth, while she pushed down the pills. Then he was 
put back into his cage, the boy insisting on going with 
him, and both slept comfortably together. In a few days, 
with the help of better food than he had been having, he 
got quite well, and on his arrival in England won the 
admiration of the Duchess of York, his new mistress, by 
his beauty and gentle ways. As his country house was 



24 SAJ^ THE PANTHER 

not quite ready for him, he was left for a few weeks 
with a man who understood animals, and seemed con- 
tented and happ3^, and was allowed to walk about as he 
liked. Here the Duchess of York used constantly to visit 
him and play with him, even going to see him the very 
day before he — and she — were to move into the country. 
He was in excellent spirits, and appeared perfectly well, 
but he must somehow have taken a chill, for when, on the 
following day, the Duchess's coachman came to fetch him, 
he found poor Sai had died after a few hours' illness from 
inflammation of the lungs. 

After all he is not so much to be pitied. He had had 
a very happy life, with plenty of fun and plenty of kind- 
ness, and he had a very rapid and painless death. 



25 



THE BUZZARD AND THE PRIEST^ 

About one hundred and forty years ago a French priest 
received a present of a large brown and grey bird, which 
had been taken in a snare intended for some other 
creature, and was very wild and savage. The man who 
brought it was quite ignoiant what kind of bird it was, 
but the priest knew it to be the common buzzard, and 
made up his mind to try to tame it. He began by 
keeping it shut up, and allowing it to take no food except 
out of his hand, and after about six weeks of this treat- 
ment it grew much quieter, and had learnt to know its 
master. The priest then thought it would be safe to give 
the buzzard a little more freedom, and after carefully 
tying its wings, so that it could not fly away, he turned it 
out into the garden. Of course it was highly delighted to 
find itself in the sun once more, and hopped about with 
joy, and the time passed quickly till it began to get 
hungry, w^hen it was glad to hear its master calling it to 
come in to dinner. Indeed, the bird always seemed so fond 
of the priest, that in a few days he thought he might 
leave it quite free, so he unfastened its wings and left them 
loose, merely hanging a label with his own name round 
its neck, and putting a little bell round its leg. But what 
was the poor man's disgust, to see the buzzard instantly 
spread out its great wings and make for the neighbouring 
forest, deaf to all his calls ! He naturally expected that, 
in spite of his trouble and precautions, the bird had 
flown away for ever, and sat sadly down to prepare his 
1 Bingley's Animal Bioqravhy. 



26 THE BUZZARP ^^D THE PRIEST 

next day's sermon. No^ sermons are things that take 
up a great deal of attention, and he had almost forgotten 
his lost favourite when h® ^"^^ startled by a tremendous 
noise in the hall outside ^i^ study, and on opening the 
door to see what was t^® matter, he saw his buzzard 
rushing about, followed by five others, who were so 
jealous of its copper plat^ and bell, that they had tried to 
peck them off, and the p'C>or thing had flown as fast as it 
could to its master's hou?^' where it knew it was safe. 

After this it took cai"^ not to wander too far from 
home, and came back eV^^J iiig^it to sleep on the priest's 
window sill. Soon it gr^w bolder still, and would sit on 
the corner of the table wP^u he was at dinner, and now and 
then would rub his hea^ against his shoulder, uttering 
a low cry of affection an^ pleasure. Sometimes it would 
even do more, and follot^' ^i^^ for several miles when he 
happened to be riding. 

But the buzzard was i^ot the only pet the priest had 
to look after. There wer'^ ducks, and chickens, and dogs, 
and four large cats. T^e ducks and chickens it did not 
mind, at least those tha* belonged to the house, and it 
would even take its b.^^b at the same time with the 
ducklings, and never tr^^ "pon them when they got in 
its way, or got cross an(^ pecked them. And if hawks or 
any such birds tried to ^^ap up the little ones who had 
left their mother's win» to take a peep at the world, 
the buzzard would instj^^tlv Ay to their help, and never 
once was beaten in the battle. Curiously enough, how 
ever, it seemed to thinl^ ^t might do as it liked with the 
fowls and ducks that pelonged to other people, and so 
many were the complair^ts of cocks and hens lamed and 
killed, that the priest was obliored to let it be known that 
he would pay for all s^<^b damage, in order to save his 
favourite's life. As to clogs and cats, it always got the 
better of them. ; in any experiment which it amused the 
priest to make. One d^y be threw a piece of raw meat 
into the garden wher^ the cats were collected, to be 



THE BUZZARD AND THE PRIEST 27 

scrambled for. A young and active puss instantly seized 
it and ran away with her prize, with all the other cats 
after her. But quick as she was, the buzzard, who had 
been watching her movements from the bough of a tree, 
was quicker still. Down it pounced on her back, squeezed 
her sides with its claws, and bit her ears so sharply, that 
she was forced to let go. In one moment another cat 
had picked the morsel up in its teeth, but it did not hold 




THE CATS NO MATCH FOR THE BUZZARD 

it long. The process that had answered for one cat 
would answer for a second, as the buzzard very well 
knew. Down he swooped again, and even when the 
whole four cats, who saw in him a common enemy, 
attacked the bird at once, they proved no match for him, 
and in the end they were clever enough to find that out. 

It is not easy to know what buzzards in general think 
about thinofs, but this one hated scarlet as much as any 
bull. Whenever he saw a red cap on any of the peasants' 



28 



THE BUZZARD AND THE PRIEST 





heads, he would hide himself among the thick boughs 

overhanging the road where the man had to pass, and 

would nip it off so softly that the peasant never felt his 

loss. He would even 

manage to take off 

the wigs which every 

one wore then, and 

that was cleverer 

still, and off he would 

carry both wigs and 



caps to a tall tree in a 
park near by, and hang 
them all over it, like a 
new kind of fruit. 

As may be magined, 
a bird so bold made 
many enemies, and was 
often shot at by the 
keepers, but for a long 
time it appeared to bear 
a charmed life, and no- 
thing did it any harm. 
However, one unlucky 
day a keeper who was 
going his rounds in the 
forest, and who did not 
know what a strange and 
clever bird this buzzard 
was, saw him on the back 

^ -^ ' "" of a fox which he had at- 

THE BUZZARD CARRIES OFF HAT AND WIG tackcd f Or waut of Some- 
thing better to do, and 
fired two shots at them. One shot killed the fox; the 
other broke the wing of the buzzard, but he managed to 



THE BUZZARD AND THE PRIEST 29 

fly out of reach of the keeper, and hid himself. Mean- 
while the tinkling of the bell made the keeper guess 
that this must be the priest's pet, of which he had so 
often heard; and being anxious to do what he could to 
repair the damage he had done, he at once told the 
priest what had happened. The priest went out directly 
to the forest, and gave his usual whistle, but neither 
on that evening nor on several others was there any 
reply. At last on the seventh night he heard a low 
answer, and on searching narrowly all through the wood, 
the priest found the poor buzzard, which had hopped 
nearly two miles towards its old home, dragging its broken 
wing after it. The bird was very thin, but was enchanted 
to see his old master, who carried him home and nursed 
him for six weeks, when he got quite well, and was able 
to fly about as boldly as ever. 



so 



COWPEB AND HIS HARES ^ 



No one was fonder of animals, or kinder to them, than 
Cowper the poet, who lived towards the end of the last 
century; but of all creatures he loved hares best, per- 
haps because he, like them, was timid and easily frightened. 
He has left a very interesting account of three hares that 
were given to him when he was living in the country in 
the year 1774, and as far as possible the poet shall tell 
his own story of the friendship between himself and his 
pets — Puss, Tiney, and Bess, as he called them. 

Cowper was not at all a strong man, and suffered 
terribly from fits of low spirits, and at these times he 
could not read, and disliked the company of people, who 
teased him by giving him advice or asking him questions. 
It was during one of these seasons of solitude and 
melancholy that he noticed a poor little hare belonging 
to the children of one of his neighbours, who, without 
meaning really to be unkind, had worried the little thing 
almost to death. Soon they got tired even of playing 
with it, and the poor hare was in danger of being starved 
to death, when their father, whose heart was more tender 
than theirs, proposed that it should be given to their 
neighbour Mr. Cowper. 

Now Cowper, besides feeling pity for the poor little 
creature, felt that he should like to teach and train it, 
and as just then he was too unhappy to care for his usual 
occupations, he gladly accepted the present. In a very 
short time Puss was given two companions, Tiney and 
1 From Bingley's British Quadrupeds. 



COWPER AND HIS HARES 31 

Bess, and could have had dozens more if Cowper had 
wanted them, for the villagers offered to catch him enough 
to have filled the whole countryside if he would only give 
the order. 

However, Cowper decided that three would be ample 
for his purposes, and as he wished them to learn nice 
clean habits, he began with his own hands to build them 
a house. The house contained a large hall and three 
bedrooms, each with a separate bed, and it was astonish- 
ing how soon every hare knew its own bedroom, and 
how careful he was (for in spite of their names they were 
all males) never to go into those of his friends. 

Very soon all three made themselves much at home 
in their comfortable quarters, and Puss, the first comer, 
would jump on his master's lap and, standing up on 
his hind legs, would bite the hair on his temples. He 
enjoyed being carried about like a baby, and would even 
go to sleep in Cowper's arms, which is a very strange 
thing for a hare to do. Once Puss got ill, and then the 
poet took care to keep him apart from the other two, for 
animals have a horror of their sick companions, and are 
generally very unkind to them. So he n^irsed Puss him- 
self, and gave him all sorts of herbs and grasses as medi- 
cine, and at last Puss began to get better, and took notice 
of what was going on round him. When he was strong 
enough to take his first little walk, his pleasure knew no 
bounds; and in token of his gratitude he licked his 
master's hand, first back, then front, and then between 
every finger. As soon as he felt himself quite strong 
again, he went with the poet every day, after breakfast, 
into the garden, where he lay all the morning under a 
trailing cucumber, sometimes asleep, but every now and 
then eating a leaf or two by way of luncheon. If the 
poet was ever later than usual in leaving the house, Puss 
would down on his knees and look up into his eyes with 
a pleading expression, or, if these means failed, he would 
seize his master's coat between his teeth, and pull as 



32 cow PER AND HIS HARES 

hard as he could towards the window. Puss was, per- 
haps, the pleasantest of all the hares, but Bess, who died 
young, was the cleverest and most amusing. He had his 
little tempers, and when he was not feeling very well, he 
was glad to be petted and made much of; but no sooner 
had he recovered than he resented any little attentions, 
and would growl and run away or even bite if you at- 
tempted to touch him. It was impossible really to tame 
Tiney, but there w\as something so serious and solemn in 
all he did, that it made you laugh even to watch him. 

Bess, the third, was very different from the other two. 
He did not need taming, for he was tame from the be- 
ginning, as it never entered into his head that anyone 
could be unkind to him. In many things he had the 
same tastes as his friends. All three loved lettuces, 
dandelions, and oats ; and every night little dishes were 
placed in their bedrooms, in case they might feel hungry. 
One day their master was clearing out a birdcage while 
his three hares were sitting by, and he placed on the floor 
a pot containing some white sand, such as birds use 
instead of a carpet. The moment they saw the sand, 
they made a rush for it and ate it up greedily. Cowper 
took the hint, and always saw, after that, that sand was 
placed where the hares could get at it. 

After supper they all spent the evenings in the parlour, 
and would tumble over together, and jump over each 
other's backs, and see which could spring the farthest, 
just like a set of kittens. But the cleverest of them all 
was Bess, and he was also the strongest. 

Poor Bess ! he was the first to die, soon after he 
was grown up, and Tiney and Puss had to get on as best 
they could without him, which was not half as much fun. 
There was no one now to invent queer games, or to keep 
the cat in order when it tried to take liberties ; and no 
one, too, to prevent Tiney from bullying Puss, as he was 
rather fond of doing. Tiney lived to be nine, quite a re- 
spectable age for a hare, and died at last from the effects 



COWPER AND HIS HARES 33 

of a fall. Puss went on for another three years, and 
showed no signs of decay, except that he was a little 
less playful, which was only to be expected. His last act 
was to make friends with a dog called Marquis, to whom 
he was introduced by his master; and though the spaniel 
could not take the place of Puss's early companions, 
he was better than nobody, and the two got on quite 
happily together, till the sad day (March 9, 1796) when 
Puss stretched himself at his master's feet and died 
peacefully and without pain, aged eleven years and 
eleven months. 



34 



A BAT TALE 



HuGGY was an old rat when he died — very old indeed. 
He was born in the middle of a corn-rick, and there he 
might have lived his little life had not the farmer who 
owned the rick caused it to be pulled down. That was 
Huggy's first experience of flitting, and it was done in 
such a hurry that he had hardly time to be sorry. It 
was pitch dark when his mother shook him up roughly 
and told him to ' come along, or he would be killed by 
the farmer,' and poor Huggy, blinking his sleepy eyes, 
struggled out of his snug little bed into the cold black 
night. 

Several old rats met him at the entrance, and sternly 
bade him stay where he was and make no noise, for the 
leader was about to speak. Huggy was wide-awake by 
this time. The rat spirit of adventure was roused within 
him by the scent of comijg danger, and eagerly he 
listened to the shrill, clear voice of the leader : 

' Friends, old and young, this is not a time for many 
words, but I want you all to know the cause of this 
sudden disturbance. Last night I was scavenging round 
the farmer's kitchen, seeking what I might devour, when 
in came the stable-boy tapping an empty corn-sieve 
which he had in his hand. He said a few words to 
the farmer, who rose hastily, and together they left the 
kitchen^ I following at a convenient distance. They went 
straight to the stable, and talked for some time with their 
backs to the corn-bin, which was standing open in the 
window. After a while I managed to scramble up and 



A RAT TALE 35 

peer into it, only to confirm what I dreaded most — 
the corn-bin was empty ! To-morrow they will pull down 
this rick, thresh the corn, and replenish the empty bin. 
So, my friends, unless we mean to die by dog, stick, or 
fork, we had better be off as soon as it is daylight.' 

There was a shuffle of feet all round, and a general 
rush of anxious mothers into the rick to fetch out their 
young. Huggy was waiting at the entrance ; so, as soon 
as he caught sight of his mother, he raced off with her to 
join the fast-assembling crowd at the back of the rick. 
The leader ranged them in lines of ten abreast, and, after 
walking up and down to see that all were in their places, 
he gave a shrill squeak, and the column started. They 
marched steadily for about two miles — slowly, of course, 
because of the young ones. Nothing proved an obstacle 
to them. Sometimes a high wall crossed their path, but 
they merely ran up one side and down the other, as if it 
was level road. Sometimes it was a broad river which 
confronted them, but that they swam without hesitation 
— rats will not stop at such trifles. 

At length they came to a field where a man with a 
pair of horses was ploughing. His coat, in which his 
dinner was wrapt, lay on the wall some little distance from 
him. Seeing such a number of rats, he left his horses 
and ran for his life, and hid behind a knoll, whence he 
could view the proceedings without himself being seen. 
To his great disgust, he saw the creatures first crowd 
round his coat, then run over it, and finally eat out of his 
pocket the bread and cheese his wife had provided for his 
dinner ! 

That was a stroke of luck for the rats. They had not 
counted on so early a breakfast ; so it was with lightsome 
hearts they performed the rest of their journey. 

Huggy was very glad when it was over. He had never 
been so far in his life — he was only three weeks old. 
Their new home proved to be a cellar, which communi- 
cated on one side with sundry pipes running straight to 



36 A EAT TALE 

the kitchen, and on the other with a large ventilatoi 
opening to the outside air. A paradise for rats ! and as 
to the inhabitants of the house — we shall see. 

It was early in the afternoon when they arrived, so 
they had plenty of time to settle down before night. 
Huggy, having selected his corner, left his mother to 
make it comfortable for him, and scampered off for ' a 
poke round,' as he called it. First he went to the 
kitchen, peeped up through a hole in the floor, and, 
seeing no one about, cautiously crept out and sniffed into 
all the cupboards. As he was emerging from the last 
he beheld a sight which made his little heart turn sick. 
There, in a corner which Huggy had not noticed before, lay 
a huge dog half asleep ! And so great was Huggy's fright 
that he squeaked, very faintly indeed, yet loud enough to 
set Master Dog upon his feet. Next minute they were 
both tearing across the kitchen. Huggy was a wee bit in 
front, but so little that he could feel the dog's hot breath 
behind him. There was the hole — bump — scrabble, 
scrabble — Huggy was safe ! Safe ! yes — but oh, so 
frightened! — and what made him smart so dreadfully? 
Why, his tail . . . was gone — bitten off by the dog ! Ah, 
Huggy, my poor little rat, if it had not been for that 
foolish little squeak of fright you might have been as 
other rats are — but now ! Huggy almost squeaked again, 
it was so very sad — and painful. Slowly he crept back 
to the cellar, where he had to endure the jeers of his 
young companions and the good advice of his elders. 

It was some weeks before Huggy fully recovered him- 
self, and more weeks still before he could screw up his 
courage to appear among his companions as the ' tailless 
rat ; ' but at long and at last he did crawl out, and, 
because he looked so shy and frightened, the other rats 
were merciful, and let him alone. The old rat, too — the 
leader — took a great fancy to him, and used to allow 
Huggy to accompany him on his various exploits, which 
was considered a great privilege among the older rats, 



A RAT TALE 39 

and Huggy was very proud of it. One night lie and the 
ieader were out together, when their walk happened to 
take them (as it generally did) round by the pantry. As 
a matter of course, they went in, and had a good meal off 
a loaf which the careless table-maid had left standing on 
the shelf. Beside the loaf was a box of matches, and 
Huggy could not be happy till he had found out what was 
inside. First he gnawed the box a little, then he dragged 
it up and down, then he gnawed a little more, and, find- 
ing it was not very good to eat, he began to play with it. 
Suddenly, without any warning, there was a splutter and 
a flare. Huggy and the leader were outside in a twink- 
ling, leaving the pantry in a blaze. Luckily no great 
damage was done, for the flames were seen and put out 
in time. 

So, little by little, Huggy was led on. In vain did his 
mother plead with him to be careful. He was ' a big rat 
now, and could look after himself,' he said. The following 
week the leader organised a party to invade the hen-house. 
Of course Huggy was among the number chosen. It re- 
quired no little skill to creep noiselessly up the broken 
ladder, visiting the various nests ranged along each side 
of the walls ; for laying hens are nervous ladies, and, if 
startled, make enough noise to waken a town. But the 
leader had selected his party well, and not a sound was 
made till the proper time came. Once up the ladder, each 
rat took it in turn to slip in behind the hen, and gently 
roll one egg at a time from under her. The poor birds 
rarely resisted; experience had taught them long since 
the futility of such conduct. It was the young and igno- 
rant fowls who gave all the trouble ; they fluttered about 
in a fright and disturbed the whole house. But the rats 
knew pretty well which to go to ; so they worked on with- 
out interruption. When they had collected about a dozen 
eggs, the next move was to take them safely down the 
ladder into the cellar. This was very soon done. Huggy 
lay down on his back, nestled an egg cosily between himself 



40 A EAT TALE 

and his two front paws ; a feather was put through his 
mouth, by which means a rat on either side dragged him 
along. Huggy found it rather rough on his back going 
down the ladder, but, with a good supper in view, he could 
bear most things. The eggs having been brought thus to 
the level of the ground, the rats dragged them in the same 
way slowly and carefully down to the cellar. 

So time went on. Night after night parties of rats went 
out, and each morning they returned with tales of adven- 
ture and cunning — all more or less daring. But the leader 
was getting old. Huggy had noticed for some time how 
grey and feeble he was becoming ; nor was he much sur- 
prised when, one day, the leader told him that he (Huggy) 
would have to take his place as leader of the rats. Two 
days after this the old rat died, leaving Huggy to succeed 
him; and a fine lot of scrapes did that rat and his 
followers get into. 

The larder was their favourite haunt, where joints of 
meat were hung on hooks ' quite out o' reach o' them rats,' 
as the cook said. But Huggy thought differently, and in 
a trice ten large rats had run up the wall and down the 
hook, and were gobbling the meat as fast as they could. 
But there was one hook in the centre of the ceiling which 
Huggy could not reach ; from this hook a nice fat duck 
was suspended by a string. ' If only I could get on to 
that hook I should gnaw the string, and the duck would 
fall, and * 

Huggy got no further. An idea had come to him 
which he communicated quickly to the others. The plan 
seemed to be appreciated, for they all ran to an old chair, 
which was standing just under this difficult centre hook. 
The strongest rat went first, climbed up the back of the 
chair, and balanced himself on the top ; Number 2 followed, 
and carefully balanced on Number 1 ; Number 1 then 
squeaked, which meant he could bear no more. It was 
a pity he could not stand one more ; for, as they were, the 
topmost rat could just reach the prize, and though he 



A RAT TALE 



41 



nibbled all round as far as he 
could, it was not what might 
be called ' a square meal.' 
The cook was indeed amazed 
when, next morning, she 
found only three-fourths of 
her precious duck remaining. 
' Ah ! ' she said, ' I'll be even 
with you yet, you cunning 
beasts!' And that night she 
sliced up part of a duck with 
some cheese, and put it in 
a plate on the larder floor. 
At his usual hour, when all 
was dark and quiet, Iluggy 
and his followers arrived, 
and, seeing their much- 
coveted prize under their 
very noses, were cautious. 
But Huggy was up to the 
trick. ' To-night and to- 
morrow night you may eat 
it,' he said, 'but beware of 
the third.' So they partook 
of the duck, and enjoyed it 
that night and the next, but 
the third the dish was left 
untouched. 

The cook was up betimes 
that morning, so that she 
might bury the corpses before 
breakfast. Her dog (the 
same who had robbed Huggy 
of his tain , according to his 
custom, followed her into the 
larder. On seeing the plate 
just as she had left it the 




42 A RAT TALE 

night before, the cook, in her astonishment, forgot the 
dog, who, finding no one gainsay him, licked the dish 
with infinite relish. Poor dog ! In spite of all efforts to 
save him he died ten minutes afterwards ; and the cook 
learnt her lesson also, for she never tried poisoning rats 
again. 

Here end the chief events of Huggy's life — all, at least, 
that are worth recording. 

Some years after the death of the dog I was sitting in 
the gloaming close to a steep path which led from the 
cellar down to the river, when what should I see but 
three large rats coming slowly towards me. The middle 
one was the largest, and evidently blind, for he had in his 
mouth a long straw, by which the other two led him care- 
fully down the path. As the trio passed I recognised the 
centre one to be Huggy the Tailless. 

Next morning my little Irish terrier, Jick, brought him 
to me in his mouth, dead ; and I buried him under a Gloire 
de Dijon in a sunny corner of the garden. 

Fantastic as some of the incidents may sound, they are, 
nevertheless, true, having been collected mainly from an 
old rat-catcher living in the town of Hawick. 



43 



SNAKE STORIES 

In 1850 Baron de Wogan, a French gentleman, left his 
native land and set sail for North America, to seek his 
fortune and adventures. He was descended from two 
noble adventurers, the Wogan who led a cavalry troop 
from Dover to the Highlands, to fight for Charles II., and 
the Wogan who rescued Queen Clementina, wife of James 
III., from prison in Innspruck. In 1850 adventures, wild 
beasts, and Red Indians were more plentiful than now, and 
Wogan had some narrow escapes from snakes and bears. 
Soon after coming to North America he had his first 
adventure with a rattlesnake ; he was then camping at the 
gold fields of California, seeking for gold in order to have 
money enough to start on his voyages of discovery. His 
house was a log hut, built by himself, and his bed a sack 
filled with dry oak leaves. 

One day, finding that his mattress required renewing, 
he went out with the sack and his gun. Having filled the 
sack with leaves, he went off with his gun in search of 
game for his larder, and only came home at nightfall. 
After having cooked and eaten his supper, he threw him- 
self on his new mattress, and soon was asleep. He 
awoke about three, and would soon have fallen asleep 
again, but he felt something moving in the sack. His 
first thought was that it was a rat, but he soon felt by the 
way it moved that it was no quadruped, but a reptile, no 
rat, but a snake ! He must have put it in the sack with 
the leaves, as might easily happen in winter when these 
creatures are torpid from the cold, and sleep all curled 



44 



SNAKE STORIES 



up. With one leap the Baron was out of its reach, but 
wishing to examine it more closely, he took his gun to 
protect him in case of danger, and came near the bed 
again ; but the ungrateful beast, forgetting that they had 
been bedfellows, threw itself on the gun and began to bite 
the muzzle. Fearing that it might turn and bite him next 
the Baron pulled the trigger, and hitting the serpent, 
literally cut it in two. It measured two feet long, and 
when the Baron cut off its tail, he found a quantity of 

scales which made the 
rattling sound from 
which this serpent gets 
its name. 

As soon as the Baron 
had found enough gold, 
he bought a mule whom 
he called Cadi, and 
whom he became very 
fond of, and set off into 
the backwoods in search 
of sport and adventure. 
(Poor Cadi eventually 




^ 






THE BARON KILLS THE SNAKE 



SNAKE STORIES 45 

met a terrible end, but that is a Bear story.) He soon 
added another companion, a young Indian girl, Calooa by 
name. She was the daughter of a chief of the Utah 
tribe, and had been taken prisoner, with several other 
women, by a tribe of hostile Indians whom the Baron 
fell in with. She would have been tortured and then 
burnt with the other prisoners had the Baron not saved 
her life by buying her for a silk handkerchief, a knife 
and fork, and some coloured pictures. She wandered 
with him and shared all his adventures, till she was found 
again by her tribe and taken back to them. One hot day 
they had been marching together about thirty miles 
through a country infested with panthers and pumas. The 
Baron was heading the little procession, when suddenly a 
cry from Calooa that she only used in moments of danger 
made bim turn round. Then he saw that what he had 
taken to be a huge rotten branch of a tree, and had even 
thought of taking with him for their camp fire, that even- 
ing, was in reality an enormous serpent. It lay across 
the path asleep, its head resting on the trunk of a tree. 
The Baron raised his gun to his shoulder, and came nearer 
the monster to get a good aim. He fired, but missed. 
The horrid creature reared itself nearly on end and looked 
at him with that fixed stare by which the serpent fasci- 
nates and paralyses its victim. The Baron felt all the 
fascination, but conquering it, he fired a second time, 
and this time wounded the creature without killing it 
outright. Though mortally wounded, the snake's dying 
struggles were so violent that the young trees all round 
were levelled as if they had been cut with a scythe. As 
soon as they were sure that life was extinct, Calooa and 
the Baron came nearer to examine the snake's dead body. 
Though part of his tail was missing, he measured never- 
theless five yards long and eighteen inches round. 
Thinking that it seemed of unusual girth, the Baron cut 
it open with an axe, and found inside the body of a young 
prairie wolf, probably about a week old. The peculiarity 



46 



SNAKE STORIES 




of this snake was that 
it gave out a strong 
odour of musk, like 
the sea serpent in Mr. 
Kipling's book. 

The most horrible 
serpent that the Baron 
encountered and slew 
was the horned snake ; 
he learned afterwards 
from the Indians that 
it is the most deadly 
of all the snakes of 
North America, for 
not only is its bite 
venomous, but its tail 
has a stins which con- 




tains the same poison. It 
crawls like other snakes, 
but when it attacks it 
forms itself into a circle, 
and then suddenly un- 
bending itself flings itself 
like a lion on its victim. 



SNAKE STORIES 47 

head forward and tail raised, thus attacking with "both 
ends at once. If by chance it misses its aim and its 
tail strikes a young tree and penetrates the bark, that 
tree immediately begins to droop, and before long withers 
and dies. On the occasion when the Baron encountered 
it, Calooa and he had been fleeing all night fearing an 
attack of hostile Indians. About daylight they ventured 
to stop to take rest and food. While Calooa lit the fire 
the Baron took his gun and went in search of game. In 
about half an hour he returned with a wild turkey. 
When they had cooked and eaten it, he lay down and 
fell asleep, but had only slept two hours w^hen he awoke, 
feeling his hand touched. It was Calooa, who w^oke him 
with a terror-stricken face. Looking in the direction she 
pointed, he saw about fifty yards away an enormous 
horned snake wound round a branch of sassafras. It 
was lying in wait for a poor little squirrel, that cowered 
in the hollow of an oak. As soon as the squirrel dared 
to show even the tip of its nose, the serpent flung itself 
at it, but in vain, as its great head could not get into the 
hole. 

'Fortunately,' the Baron says, 'my gun was by my 
side. I rose and went to the rescue of the defenceless 
little creature. When the serpent saw me he knew he had 
another sort of enemy to deal with, and hissing furiously 
hurled himself in my direction, though without quitting his 
branch. I stopped and took aim. The serpent evidently 
understood my attitude perfectly, for unwinding himself 
he began to crawl with all his speed towards me. Between 
us there was fortunately an obstacle, a fallen chestnut tree ; 
to reach me he must either climb over it or go round, and 
he was too furious to put up with any delay. Ten paces 
from the tree I waited for him to appear, one knee on 
the ground, my gun at my shoulder, and the other elbow 
resting on my knee to steady my aim. At last I saw his 
horrid head appear above the fallen tree, at the same 
moment I fired, and the ball pierced his head through 



48 



SNAKE STORIES 



and through, though without instantly killing him. 
Quick as lightning he wound himself round a branch, 
lashing out with his tail in all directions. It was his dying 
struggle ; slowly his fury subsided, and uncoiling himself 
he fell dead alongside the tree. I measured him and 
found he was eight feet long, and seven or eight inches 
round. He was dark brown, and his head had two horns. 




HOW THE INDIANS MAKE THE HORNED SNAKE DISGORGE HIS DINNER 

or rather hard knobs. Wishing to carry away some 
souvenir to remember him by when I should be at home 
again in France, I tried to cut off his horns, but found 
it impossible. Out of curiosity I then took an axe and 
cut him open, when I found inside a little bird, dazed 
but living. Presently it revived and began to flutter 



SNAKE STORIES 49 

about, and soon flew away among the bushes and was 
lost to sight. I did not then know that this is a common 
occurrence, and that when the Indians find a serpent 
asleep, as is generally the case after the creature has 
gorged itself, they hit it on the head with a stick, which 
makes it throw up what it has swallowed whole, and 
its victims are often still living.' 

Calooa on one occasion had a narrow escape. She had 
put her hand into a hollow in a branch of a cherry-tree 
where was a blue jay's nest, to take eggs as she thought. 
Hardly had she put in her hand when she screamed with 
pain ; a rattlesnake that had taken possession of the nest 
had stung her. The Baron, much alarmed, expected to 
see Calooa die before his eyes. He did not know of the 
remedy the Indians use for snake bites. Calooa herself 
was quite undisturbed, and hunted about among the 
bushes till she found the plant she knew of, then crushing 
some of the leaves between two stones, she applied them 
to the bite, and in a couple of hours was completely 
cured. 

Besides these snakes the Baron learned from the 
Indians that there is another even more dangerous, not 
from its sting, which is not poisonous, but because it 
winds itself round its victim, and strangles him to death. 
Fortunately the Baron never met one, or he would pro- 
bably not have lived to tell his snake stories. 



50 



WHAT ELEPHANTS CAN DO 

Long, long ago the earth was very different from what 
it is now, and was covered with huge forests made up 
of enormous trees, and in these forests there roamed 
immense beasts, whose skeletons may sometimes be seen 
in our museums. 

Of all these beasts there is only one remaining, and 
that is the elephant. Now the elephant is so big and 
shapeless that he makes one think he has been turned 
out by a child who did not know how to finish his work 
properly. He seems to need some feet badly and to want 
pinching about his body. He would also be the better 
for a more imposing tail ; but such as he is, the elephant 
is more useful and interesting than many creatures of ten 
times his beauty. Large and clumsy though he may be, 
he alone of all animals has ' between his eyes a serpent 
for a hand,' and he turns his trunk to better account than 
most men do their two hands. 

Ever since we first read about elephants in history 
they were just the same as they are now. They have not 
learnt, from associating with men, fresh habits which they 
hand down from father to son ; each elephant, quick though 
he is to learn, has to be taught everything over again. 

Yet there is no beast who has lived in such unbroken 
contact with man for so many thousands of years. We 
do not know when he first began to be distinguished for 
his qualities from the other wild animals, but as far back 
as we can trace the sculptures which adorn the Indian 
temples the elephant has a place. Several hundred years 



WHAT ELEPHANTS CAN BO 51 

before Christ, the Greek traveller Herodotus was passing 
through Babylon and found a large number of elephants 
employed in the daily life of the city, and from time to 
time we catch glimpses of them in Eastern warfare, 
though it was not till the third century B.C. that they 
were introduced into Europe by Alexander the Great. 
The Mediterranean nations were quick to see the immense 
profit to which the elephant could be put, both in respect 
to the great weights he could carry, and also for his 
extraordinary teachableness. In India at the present day 
he performs all kinds of varied duties, and many are the 
stories told about his cleverness, for he is the only animal 
that can be taught to push as well as pull. 

Most of us have seen elephants trained to perform in 
ift circus, and there is something rather sad in watching 
their great clumsy bodies gambolling about in a way that 
is unnatural as well as ungraceful. But there is no 
question as to the amount that elephants can be taught, 
particularly by kindness, or how skilfully they will revenge 
themselves for any ill-treatment. 

In the early part of this century an elephant was sent 
by a lady in India as a present to the Duke of Devon- 
shire, who had a large villa at Chiswick. 

This lucky captive had a roomy house of its own, 
built expressly for it in the park, a field to walk about in, 
and a keeper to look after it, and to do a little light 
gardening besides. This man treated the elephant (a 
female) with great kindness, and they soon became the 
best of friends. The moment he called out she stopped, 
and at his bidding would take a broom in her trunk and 
sweep the dead leaves off the grass; after which she 
would carefully carry after him a large pail of water for 
him to re-fill his watering pot — for in those days the 
garden-hose was not invented. When the tidying up was 
all done, the elephant was given a carrot and some of the 
water, but very often the keeper would amuse himself 
with handing her a soda-water bottle tightly corked, and 



52 WHAT ELEPHANTS CAN DO 

telling her to empty it. This she did by placing the 
bottle in an inclined position on the ground and holding 
it at the proper angle with her foot, while she twisted the 
cork out with her trunk. This accomplished, she would 
empty all the water into her trunk without spilling a drop, 
and then hand the bottle back to her keeper. 

In India small children are often given into the charge 
of an elephant, and it is wonderful to see what care 
the animals take of them. One elephant took such a 
fancy to a small baby, that it used to stand over its 
cradle, and drive away the flies that teased it while it 
slept. "When it grew restless the elephant would rock the 
cradle, or gently lift it to the floor and let it crawl about 
between its legs, till the child at last declined to take any 
food unless her friend was by to see her eat it. 

Amazing tales have been told of what elephants can 
be trained to do, but none is stranger than a story re- 
lated by a missionary named Gaunter, about some wild 
elephants in Ceylon. Some native soldiers who had been 
set to guard a large storehouse containing rice, were 
suddenly ordered off to put down a rising in a village a 
little distance away. Hardly were their backs turned 
when a wild elephant was seen advancing to the store- 
house, which was situated in a lonely place, and after 
walking carefully round it, he returned whence he came. 
In a short time he was noticed advancing for the second 
time, accompanied by a whole herd of elephants, all 
marching in an orderly and military manner. 

Now in order to secure the granary as much as possi- 
ble, the only entrance had been made in the roof, and had 
to be reached by a ladder. This was soon found out by 
the elephants, who examined the whole building atten- 
tively, and being baflfled in their designs, retired to con- 
sult as to what they should do next. Finally one of the 
largest among them began to attack one of the corners 
with his tusks, and some of the others followed his 
example. When the first relay was tired out, another set 




niJi^;i 



,b'w1 ,u.an 



WHAT ELEPHANTS CAN DO 55 

took its place, but all their efforts seemed useless; the 
building was too strong for them. At length a third 
elephant came forward and attacked the place at which 
the others had laboured with such ill-success, and, by a 
prodigious effort, he managed to loosen one brick. After 
this it did not take long to dig a hole big enough to let 
the whole herd pass through, and soon the two spectators, 
hidden in a banyan-tree, saw little companies of three or 
four enter the granary and take their fill of rice until 
they all were satisfied. The last batch were still eating 
busily, when a shrill noise from the sentinel they had 
set on guard caused them to rush out. From afar they 
could perceive the white dress of the soldiers who had 
subdued the unruly villagers and were returning to their 
post, and the elephants, trunks in air, took refuge in the 
jungle, and only wagged their tails mockingly at the bullets 
sent after them by the discomfited soldiers. 



56 



THE DOG OF MONTARGIS. 

For three days Aubrey de Montdidier had not been seen 
by his friends and comrades in arms. On Sunday morn- 
ing he had attended mass in the Church of Our Lady, 
but it was noticed that in the afternoon he was absent from 
the great tournament which was held at Saint Katherine's. 
This astonished his friend the young Sieur de Narsac, 
who had appointed to meet him there, that they might 
watch together the encounter between a Burgundian 
knight and a gentleman from Provence, both renowned 
in tilting, who were to meet together for the first time 
that day in Paris. It was unlike Aubrey to fail to be 
present on such an occasion, and when for three successive 
days he did not appear at his accustomed haunts, his 
friends grew anxious, and began to question among them- 
selves whether some accident might not have befallen 
him. Early on the morning of the fourth day De Narsac 
was awakened by a continuous sound, as of something 
scratching against his door. Starting up to listen, he 
heard, in the intervals of the scratching, a low whine, as 
of a dog in pain. Thoroughly aroused, he got up and 
opened the door. Stretched before it, apparently too 
weak to stand, was a great, gaunt greyhound, spent with 
exhaustion and hunger. His ribs stood out like the bars 
of a gridiron beneath his smooth coat ; his tongue hung 
down between his jaws, parched and stiff; his eyes were 
bloodshot, and he trembled in every limb. 

On seeing De Narsac the poor creature struggled to 
his feet, feebly wagged his tail, and thrust his nose into 



THE DOG OF MONTARGIS 



57 



the young man's hands. Then only did De Narsac re 
cognise in the half-starved skeleton before him the 
favourite dog and constant companion of his friend, 




DK NARSAC RECOGNISES HIS FRIEND'S DOG 



Aubrey de Montdidier. It was clear from the poor 
animal's emaciated appearance that it was in the last 
stage of exhaustion. Summoning his servant, De Narsac 



58 THE DOG OF MONTARGIS 

ordered food and water to be brought at once, and the 
dog devoured the huge meal set before it. From his 
starved appearance, and from the voracity with which he 
devoured the food set before hun, it was evident that 
he had had nothing to eat for some days. No sooner 
was his hunger appeased than he began to move uneasily 
about the room. Uttering low howls of distress from 
time to time, he approached the door; then, returning 
to De Narsac's side, he looked up in his face and gently 
tugged at his mantle, as if to attract attention. There 
was something at once so appealing and peculiar in the 
dog's behaviour that De Narsac's curiosity was aroused, 
and he became convinced that there was some connection 
between the dog's starved appearance and strange manner 
and the unaccountable disappearance of his master. 
Perhaps the dog might supply the clue to Aubrey's place 
of concealment. Watching the dog's behaviour closely, 
De Narsac became aware that the dumb beast was in- 
viting him to accompany him. Accordingly he yielded to 
the dog's apparent wish, and, leaving the house, followed 
him out into the streets of Paris. 

Looking round from time to time to see that De 
Narsac was coming after him, the greyhound pursued 
its way through the narrow, tortuous streets of the 
ancient city, over the Bridge, and out by the Porte St.- 
Martin, into the open country outside the gates of the 
town. Then, continuing on its track, the dog headed for 
the Forest of Bondy, a place of evil fame in those far-off 
days, as its solitudes were known to be infested by bands 
of robbers. Stopping suddenly in a deep and densely 
wooded glade of the wood, the dog uttered a succession 
of low, angry growls; then, tugging at De Narsac's 
mantle, it led him to some freshly turned-up earth, beneath 
a wide-spreading oak-tree. With a piteous whine the 
dog stretched himself on the spot, and could not be induced 
' by De Narsac to follow him back to Paris, where he 
straightway betook himself, as he at once suspected foul 



TEE DOG OF MONTARGIS 59 

play. A few hours later a party of men, guided to the 
spot by the young Sieur de Narsac, removed the earth 
and dead leaves and ferns from the hole into which they 
had been hastily flung, and discovered the murdered body 
of Aubrey de Montdidier. Hurriedly a litter was con- 
structed of boughs of trees, and, followed by the dog, the 
body was borne into Paris, where it was soon afterwards 
buried. 

From that hour the greyhound attached himself to the 
Sieur de Narsac. It slept in his room, ate from his table, 
and followed close at his heels when he went out of doors. 
One morning, as the two were threading their way through 
the crowded Rue St. -Martin, De Narsac was startled by 
hearing a low, fierce growl from the greyhound. Lookmg 
down he saw that the creature was shaking in every limb ; 
his smooth coat was bristling, his tail was straight and 
stiff, and he was showing his teeth. In another moment 
he had made a dart from De Narsac's side, and had 
sprung on a young gentleman named Macaire, in the 
uniform of the king's bodyguard, who, with several 
comrades in arms, was sauntering along on the opposite 
side of the street. There was something so sudden in 
the attack that the Chevalier Macaire was almost thrown 
on the ground. With their walking-canes he and his 
friends beat off the dog, and on De Narsac coming up, 
it was called away, and, still trembling and growling, 
followed its master down the street. 

A few days later the same thing occurred. De Narsac 
and the Chevalier Macaire chanced to encounter each 
other walking in the royal park. In a moment the dog 
had rushed at Macaire, and, with a fierce spring at his 
throat, had tried to pull him to the ground. De Narsac 
and some officers of the king's bodyguard came to Macaire's 
assistance, and the dog was called off. The rumour of 
this attack reached the ears of the king, and mixed 
with the rumour were whisperings of a long-standing 
quarrel between Macaire and Aubrey de Montdidier. 



6o THE DOG OF MOXTARGIS 

Might not the dog's strange and unaccountable hatred for 
the young officer be a clue to the mysterious murder of 
his late master? Determined to sift the matter to the 
bottom, the king summoned De Xarsac and the dog to 
his presence at the H6tel St. -Pol. Following close on his 
master's heels, the greyhound entered the audience-room, 
where the king was seated, surrounded by his courtiers. 
As De Xarsac bowed low before his sovereign, a short, 
fierce bark was heard from the dog, and. before he could 
be held back, he had darted in among the startled coui'tiers, 
and had sprung at the throat of the Chevalier Mac aire, 
who, with several other knights, formed a little group 
behind the king's chair. 

It was impossible longer to doubt that there was some 
ground for the sunnises that had rapidly grown to sus- 
picion, and that had received sudden confirmation from 
the fresh evidence of the dog's hatred. 

The king decided that there should be a trial by the 
judgment of God, and that a combat should take place 
between man, the accused, and dog, the accuser. The 
place chosen for the combat was a waste, uninhabited 
plot of ground, frequently selected as a duelling-ground 
by the young gallants of Paris. 

In the presence of the king and his courtiers the 
strange unnatural combat took place that afternoon. The 
knight was armed with a short thick stick; the dog was 
provided with an empty barrel, as a retreating ground 
from the attacks of his adversary. At a given signal the 
combatants entered the lists. The dog seemed quite to 
understand the strange duel on which it was engaged. 
Barking savagely, and darting round his opponent, he 
made attempts to leap at his throat; now on this side, 
now on that he sprang, jumping into the air, and then 
bounding back out of reach of the stick. There was such 
swiftness and determination about his movements, and 
something so unnatural in the combat, that Macaire's 
nerve failed him. His blows beat the air, without hitting 




THE DOG FLIES AT MACAIKE IN THE TKESENCE OF THE KING 



THE DOG OF MONTARGIS 67, 

the dog", his breath came in quick short gasps; there 
was a look of terror on his face, and for a moment, over- 
come by the horror of the situation, his eye quailed and 
sought the ground. At that instant the dog sprang at his 
throat and pinned him to the earth. In his terror, he 
called out and acknowledged his crime, and implored the 
king's mercy. But the judgment of God had decided. 
The dog was called off before it had strangled its victim, 
but the man was hurried away to the place of execution, 
and atoned that evening for the murder of the faithful 
greyhound's master. 

The dog has been known to posterity as the Dog of 
Montargis, as in the Castle of Montargis there stood for 
many centuries a sculptured stone mantelpiece, on which 
the combat was carved. 



64 



HOW A BEAVER BUILDS HIS HO USE ^ 

If we could look back and see England and Wales as thej 
were about a thousand years ago, we should most likely 
think that the best houses and most prosperous villages 
were the work not of the Saxon or British natives, but of 
the little beavers, which were then to be found in some of 
the rivers, though they have long ceased to exist there. 
Those who want to see what beavers can do, must look 
to America, and there, either in Canada or even as far 
south as Louisiana, they will find the little creatures 
as busy as ever and as clever at house-building as when 
they taught our forefathers a lesson in the time of Athel- 
stan or Canute. 

A beaver is a small animal measuring about three feet, 
and has fine glossy dark brown hair. Its tail, which is 
its trowel, and call bell, and many other things besides, 
is nearly a foot long, and has no hair at all, and is 
divided into little scales, something like a fish. Beavers 
cannot bear to live by themselves, and are never happy 
unless they have two or three hundred friends close at 
hand whom they can visit every day and all day, and 
they are the best and most kindly neighbours in the world, 
always ready to help each other either in building new 
villages or in repairing old ones. 

Of course the first thing to be done when you wish to 
erect a house or a village is to fix on a suitable site, and 
the spot which every beaver of sense thinks most desirable 
is either a large pond or, if no pond is to be had, a flat 

1 Bingley's Anmial Biography. 



HOW A BEAVER BUILDS HIS HOUSE 65 

low plain with a stream iHinning through, out of which a 
pond can be made. 

It must be a very, very long while since beavers first 
found out that the way to make a pond out of a stream 
was to build a dam across it so strong that the water 
could not break through. To begin with, they have 
to know which way the stream runs, and in this they 
never make a mistake. Then they gather together stakes 
about five feet long, and fix them in rows tight into the 
ground on each side of the stream ; and while the older and 
more experienced beavers are doing this — for the safety of 
the village depends on the strength of the foundation — the 
younger and more active ones are fetching and heaping 
up green branches of trees. These branches are plaited 
in and out of the rows of stakes, which by this time stretch 
right across the river, and form a dam often as much as a 
hundred feet from end to end. When the best workmen 
among them declare the foundation solid, the rest form a 
large wall over the whole, of stones, clay, and sand, which 
gradually tapers up from ten or twelve feet at the bottom, 
where it has to resist the pressure of the stream, to two 
or three at the top, so that the beavers can, if necessary, 
pass each other in comfort. And when the dam is pro- 
nounced finished, the overseer or head beaver goes care- 
fully over every part, to see that it is the proper shape and 
exactly smooth and even, for beavers cannot bear bad 
work, and would punish any of their tribe who were lazy 
or careless. 

The dam being ready and the pond made, they can 
now begin to think about their houses, and as all beavers 
have a great dislike to damp floors and wet beds, they 
have to raise their dwellings quite six or eight feet above 
the level of the stream, so that no sudden swelling of the 
river during the rainy season shall make them cold and 
uncomfortable. Beavers are always quite clear in their 
minds as to what they want, and how to get it, and they 
like to keep things distinct. When they are in the water 

5 



66 HOW A BEAVER BUILDS HIS HOUSE 

they are perfectly bappy, but when they are out of it thej? 
like to be dry, and in order to keep their houses wariu 
and snug they wait till the water is low during the 
summer, and then they can drive piles into the bed of the 
stream with more safety and less trouble than if the 
river is running hard. It generally takes two or three 
months before the village is finished, and the bark and 
shoots of young trees, which is their favourite food, 
collected and stored up. But the little round huts, not 
unlike beehives, are only intended for winter homes, as 
no beaver would think of sleeping indoors during the 
summer, or, indeed, of staying two days in the same place. 
So every three or four years they spend the long days in 
making their village of earth, stones, and sticks, plastered 
together with some kind of mortar which they carry about 
on their tails, to spread neatly over the inside of their 
houses. All that a beaver does is beautifully finished as 
well as substantial. The walls of his house are usually 
about two feet thick, and sometimes he has as many as 
three stories to his house, when he has a large family or 
a number of friends to live with him. One thing is quite 
certain : no beaver will ever set up housekeeping alone ; 
but sometimes he will be content with one companion, 
and sometimes he will have as many as thirty. But 
however full the hut may be, there is never any confu- 
sion ; each beaver has his fixed place on the floor, which 
is covered with dried leaves and moss, and as they man- 
age to keep open a door right below the surface of the 
stream, where their food is carefully stored up, there is 
no fear that they will ever be starved out. And there 
they lie all through the winter, and get very fat. 

Once a French gentleman who was travelling through 
Louisiana, was very anxious to see the little beaver 
colony at work, so he hid himself with some other men 
close to a dam, and in the night they cut a channel about a 
foot wide right through, and very hard labour they found it. 
The men had made no noise in breaking the dam, but 
the rush of the water aroused one beaver who slept more 



HOW A BEAVER BUILDS HIS HOUSE 67 

lightly than the rest, and he instantly left his hut and 
swam to the dam to examine what was wrong. He then 
struck four loud blows with his tail, and at the sound of 
his call every beaver left his bed and came rushing to see 
what was the matter. No sooner did they reach the dam 
and see the large hole made in it, than they took counsel, 
and then the one in whom they put the most trust gave 
orders to the rest, and they all went to the bank to make 
mortar. When they had collected as much as they could 
carry, they formed a procession, two and two, each pair 
loading each others' tails, and so travelling they arrived 
at the dam, where a relay of fresh labourers were ready to 
load. The mortar was then placed in the hole and bound 
tight by repeated blows from the beavers' tails. So hard 
did they work and so much sense did they show, that in 
a short time all was as firm as ever. Then one of the 
leading spirits clapped his tail twice, and in a moment 
all were in bed and asleep again. 

Beavers are very hard-working, but they know how to 
make themselves comfortable too, and if they are content 
with bark and twigs at home, they appreciate nicer food if 
they can get it. A gentleman once took a beaver with 
him to New York, and it used to wander about the house 
like a dog, feeding chiefly upon bread, with fish now and 
then for a treat. Not being able to find any moss or 
leaves for a bed, it used to seize upon all the soft bits of 
stuff that came in its way, and carry them off to its 
sleeping corner. One day a cat discovered its hiding 
place, and thought it would be a nice comfortable place 
for her kittens to sleep, and when the beaver came back 
from his walk he found, like the three bears, that some- 
one was sleeping in his bed. He had never seen things 
of that kind before, but they were small and he was big, 
so he said nothing and lay down somewhere else. Only, 
if ever their mother was away, he would go and hold one 
of them to his breast to warm it, and keep it there till its 
mother came back. 



68 



THE WAR HORSE OF ALEXANDER ^ 

There are not so many stories about horses as there are 
about dogs and cats, yet almost every great general has 
had his favourite horse, who has gone with him through 
many campaigns and borne him safe in many battle-fields. 
At a town in Sicily called Agrigentum, they set such 
store by their horses, that pyramids were raised over 
their burial-place, and the Emperor Augustus built a 
splendid monument over the grave of an old favourite. 

The most famous horse, perhaps, who ever lived, was 
one belonging to Alexander the Great, and was called 
Bucephalus. When the king was a boy, Bucephalus was 
brought before Philip, King of Macedon, Alexander's 
father, by Philonicus the Thessalian, and offered for sale 
for the large sum of thirteen talents. Beautiful though he 
was, Philip wisely declined to buy him before knowing 
what manner of horse he was, and ordered him to be led 
into a neighbouring field, and a groom to mount him. 
But it was in vain that the best and most experienced 
riders approached the horse; he reared up on his hind 
legs, and would suffer none to come near him. So Philo- 
nicus the Thessalian was told to take his horse back 
whence he came, for the king would have none of him. 

Now the boy Alexander stood by, and his heart went 
out to the beautiful creature. And he cried out, ' What a 
good horse do we lose for lack of skill to mount him ! ' 
Philip the king heard these words, and his soul was vexed 
to see the horse depart, but yet he knew not what else to 

1 Part of the story of Bucephalus is taken from Plutarch. 



THE WAR HORSE OF ALEXANDER 69 

do. Then he turned to Alexander and said : ' Do you 
think that you, young and untried, can ride this horse 
better than those who have grown old in the stables ? ' 
To which Alexander made answer, ' This horse I know I 
could ride better than they.' ' And if you fail,' asked 
Philip, ' what price will you pay for your good conceit of 
yourself?' And Alexander laughed out and said gaily, 
' I will pay the price of the horse.' And thus it was 
settled. 

So Alexander drew near to the horse, and took him by 
the bridle, turning his face to the sun so that he might 
not be frightened at the movements of his own shadow, 
for the prince had noticed that it scared him greatly. 
Then Alexander stroked his head and led him forwards, 
feeling his temper all the while, and when the horse began 
to get uneasy, the prince suddenly leapt on his back, and 
gradually curbed him with the bridle. Suddenly, as 
Bucephalus gave up trying to throw his rider, and only 
pawed the ground impatient to be off, Alexander shook 
the reins, and bidding him go, they flew like lightning 
round the course. This was Alexander's first conquest, 
and as he jumped down from the horse, his father ex- 
claimed, ' Go, my son, and seek for a kingdom that is 
worthy, for Macedon is too small for such as thee.' 

Henceforth Bucephalus made it clear that he served 
Alexander and no one else. He would submit quietly to 
having the gay trappings of a king's steed fastened on his 
head, and the royal saddle put on, but if any groom tried 
to mount him, back would go his ears and up would go 
his heels, and none dared come near him. For ten years 
after Alexander succeeded his father on the throne of 
Macedon (b.c. 336), Bucephalus bore him through all his 
battles, and was, says Pliny, ' of a passing good and 
memorable service in the wars,' and even when wounded, 
as he once was at the taking of Thebes, would not suffer 
his master to mount another horse. Together these two 
swam rivers, crossed mountains, penetrated into the 



70 THE WAR HORSE OF ALEXANDER 

dominions of the Great King, and farther still into the 
heart of Asia, beyond the Caspian and the river Oxus, 
where never European army had gone before. Then 
turning sharp south, he crossed the range of the Hindoo 
Koosh, and entering the country of the Five Rivers, he 
prepared to attack Porus, king of India. But age and the 
wanderings of ten years had worn Bucephalus out. One 
last victory near the Hydaspes or Jelum, and the old 
horse sank down and died, full of years and honours (b.c. 
326). Bitter were the lamentations of the king for the 
friend of his childhood, but his grief did not show itself 
only in weeping. The most splendid funeral Alexander 
could devise was given to Bucephalus, and a gorgeous 
tomb erected over his body. And more than that, Alex- 
ander resolved that the memory of his old horse should 
be kept green in these burning Indian deserts, thousands 
of miles from the Thessalian plains where he was born, 
so round his tomb the king built a city, and it was 
called 

* BUCEPHALIA.' 



n 



STORIES ABOUT BEARS 

Baron de Wogan, a French gentleman, whose adventures 
with snakes are also curious, was the hero of some en- 
counters with the grizzly bear of North America. First, 
I would have you understand what sort of a creature 
he had for an opponent. Imagine a monster measuring 
when standing upright eight or nine feet, weighing 900 
lbs., of a most terrifying appearance, in agility and 
strength surpassing all other animals, and cruel in pro- 
portion. Like his cousin the brown bear, whom he 
resembles in shape, he is a hermit and lives alone in the 
immense trackless forests which covered the Rocky Moun- 
tains, and indeed (at least in olden times) the greater part 
of North America. During the day he sleeps in the 
depths of some mountain cavern, and wakes up at dusk to 
go out in search of prey. All the beasts of the forest live 
in terror of him — even the white bear flies before him. 
He would go down to the valleys and attack the immense 
herds of buffaloes which grazed there, and which were 
powerless against him, in spite of their numbers and 
their great horns. They join themselves closely together 
and form one compact rank, but the grizzly bear hurls 
himself at them, breaks their ranks, scatters them, and 
then pursuing them till he catches them up, flings him- 
self on the back of one, hugs it in iiis iron embrace, breaks 
its skull with his teeth, and so goes slaying right and left 
before he eats one. Before the Baron's first, so to say, 
hand-to-hand encounter with a grizzly, he had been long 
enough in the country to know something of their ways, 



72 STORIES ABOUT BEARS 

and how worse than useless a shot is unless in a fatal 
spot. 

After the return to her tribe of Calooa, a young Indian 
gu*l, who had been his one human companion in many 
days of wandering, the Baron was left with only his mule 
Cadi for friend and companion, and naturally felt very 
lonely. He set his heart on getting to the top of the 
Rocky Mountains, at the foot of which he then happened 
to be. Their glittering summits had so irresistible an 
attraction for him, that he did not stay to consider the 
difficulties which soon beset him at every step. No 
sooner did he conquer one than another arose, added to 
which the cold of these high regions was intense, and it 
constantly snowed. After three days he had to declare 
himself not only beaten, but so worn out that he must 
take a week's rest if he did not want to fall ill. First it 
was necessary to have some sort of a shelter, and by 
great good luck he found just at hand a cavern in the 
rock, which, without being exactly a palace, seemed as if 
it would answer his purpose. 

Upon closer examination he found that it had more 
drawbacks than he cared about. All round were scat- 
tered gnawed bones of animals, and the prints of bear's 
claws on the ground left no doubt as to who the last inmate 
had been. The Baron, however, preferred to risk an 
invasion rather than seek another abode, and prepared 
for probable inroads by making across the entrance to 
the cave a barricade of branches of oak tied together 
with flax, a quantity of which grew near. He then lit 
a good fire inside the cave, but as the last tenant had 
not considered a chimney necessary,* the dense smoke soon 
obliged him to beat a hasty retreat. Besides he had to 
go out to get supplies for his larder, at present as bare as 
Mother Hubbard's. With his usual good luck the Baron 
found, first, a large salmon flapping wildly in its effort to 
get out of a pool, where the fallen river had left it. This 
he killed, and next he shot a young deer about a mile 



STORIES ABOUT BEARS 73 

away and carried it to camp on his back. In order to 
preserve these eatables he salted some of them with salt 
that he had previously found in a lake near, and had 
carefully preserved for future use. He then dug a hole in 
a corner of the cave, putting a thick layer of dry hay at 
the bottom, and buried his provisions Indian fashion, in 
order to preserve them. 

As it was still only twelve o'clock, the Baron thought 
he would spend the rest of the day in exploring the 
neighbourhood; first he examined the cave, which he 
found to be formed of big blocks of rock firmly joined 
together; above the cave rose the cliff, and in front 
of it grew a fir-tree, which served at the same time to 
defend the entrance, and as a ladder to enable him to 
mount the cliff. As he could not take Cadi with him, he 
fastened him to the fir-tree by his halter and girth joined 
together, so as to leave him plenty of room to graze. 
Then he put some eatables in his game bag, and set off 
on a tour of discovery. When he had walked about three 
hours, and had reached a rocky point from which he 
had a fine view of the surrounding country, he sat 
down to rest under an oak-tree. He knew nothing more 
till the cold awoke him — it was now six o'clock, and 
he had slept three hours. He started with all the haste 
he could to get back to his cave and Cadi before dark, 
but so tired and footsore was he that he was obliged to 
give in and camp where he was, for night was coming on 
fast. It was bitterly cold and snow fell constantly, so he 
lit a large fire, which at the same time warmed him, 
and kept away the bears whom he heard wandering round 
the camp most of the night. As soon as the sun was up 
in the morning, he setoff with all his speed to see what had 
become of Cadi; but though fifteen miles is not much to 
bears balked of their prey, it is much to a weary and foot- 
sore man, and when he had hobbled to within half a mile 
of the camp, he saw that it was too late: the bears, whom 
he had driven away from his camp in the night with fire* 



74 STORIES ABOUT BEARS 

brands, had sceuted poor Cadi, and four of them were now 
devouring him — father, mother, and two cubs. Imagine 
his rage and grief at seeing his only friend and companion 
devoured piecemeal before his very eyes ! 

His first impulse was to fire, but he reflected in time 
that they were four to one, and that, instead of avenging 
Cadi, he would only share his fate. He decided to wait on 
a high rock till the meal was ended. It lasted an hour, 
and then he saw the whole family setoff to climb the moun- 
tain, from the top of which he had been watching them. 
They seemed to be making straight for him, and as it would 
be certain death to sit and wait for them, he slipped into a 
cranny in the rock, hoping that he might not be perceived ; 
even if he was, he could only be attacked by one at a time. 
He had not long to wait : soon all four bears passed in 
single file, without smelling him or being aware of him ; 
for this he had to thank poor Cadi : their horrid snouts 
and jaws being smeared with his blood prevented their 
scenting fresh pre3^ 

When he had seen them at a safe distance, he ventured 
to go down to the cave he could no longer call his own. 
Of Cadi, nothing remained but his head, still fastened to 
the tree by his halter. The barricade was gone, too, and 
from the cave came low but unmistakable growls. With 
one bound the Baron was up the tree, and from the tree 
on to the cliff. From there he threw stones down before 
the entrance to the cave, to induce the present inmate to 
come out, in order that he might take possession again. 
The bear soon came out, and, perceiving him, made for the 
fir-tree. By its slow and languid movements the Baron 
saw that it was curiosity more than anger that prompted it, 
and, moreover, it was evidently a very old bear, probably 
a grandfather, whose children and grandchildren had been 
to pay it a visit. Curiosity or not, the Baron had no wish 
to make a closer acquaintance, and fired a shot at the brute 
by way of a hint to that effect. This immediately turned 
his curiosity into wrath. Seizing the fir- tree, which he was 



STORIES ABOUT BEARS 77 

going to use as a ladder, he began to climb up. A second 
shot hit him in the shoulder. He fell mortally wounded, but 
even after a third shot, which took him in the flank, his 
dying struggles lasted twenty minutes, during which he tore 
at the roots of the fir-trees with his terrific claws. The 
Baron did not care to w^aste any of his bullets, now getting 
scarce, in putting out of his pain one of Cadi's murderers. 
When finally the bear was dead, the Baron came down to 
take possession of his cave, and at the same time of the 
bear's skin. On penetrating into the cave, he found that 
the rascal had paid him out in his own coin, and, in revenge 
for the Baron taking his cave, had eaten his provisions. 
The Baron was quits in the end, however, as the bear's 
carcase furnished him meat enough for several days. The 
Baron cut off pounds of steak, which he salted and dried 
over the fire. The useless remains he threw over the 
nearest precipice, so that they should not attract wild 
beasts, to keep him awake all night with their cries. 
Then, having made a huge fire in front of the entrance, 
wiiich, moreover, be barricaded with branches, he threw 
himself on his bed of dry leaves to sleep the sleep of 
exhaustion. 

Some time passed before the Baron's next encounter 
with a bear. He was camping one night in a dense forest, 
sleeping, as usual, with one eye and one ear open, and 
his weapon at hand, all ready loaded. His rest was broken 
by the usual nightly sounds of the forest, of leaves 
crunched and branches broken, showing that many of the 
inmates of the woods were astir; but he did not let these 
usual sounds disturb him, till he heard in the distance 
the hoarse and unmistakable cry of the bear; then he 
thought it time to change the shot in his gun for something 
more worthy of such a foe. This preparation made, he 
set off at dawn on his day's march, which up to midday 
led him along the bank of a large river. He thought no 
more of the blood-curdling howls of the night, till suddenly 
he heard from a distance terror-stricken cries. He put 



78 STORIES ABOUT BEARS 

his ear to the ground, Indian fashion, to listen better, and 
as the danger, whatever it was, seemed to be coming 
nearer, he jumped into a thicket of wild cherry and willow 
trees, and waited there in ambush, gun in hand. In a few 
minutes, a band of Indians with their squaws appeared 
on the opposite bank of the river, and straightway leaped 
into the water, like so many frogs jumping into an undis- 
turbed swamp. At first he thought he was being attacked, 
but soon saw it was the Indians who were being pursued, 
and that they all, men and women, were swimming for 
dear life; moreover, the women were laden with their 
children, one, and sometimes two, being strapped to their 
backs in a sort of cradle of birch bark. This additional 
weight made them swim slower than the men, who soon 
reached the opposite shore, and then took to their heels 
helter-skelter, except three, who remained behind to en- 
courage the women. 

The Baron at first thought it was an attack of other 
Indians, and that it would be prudent to beat a retreat, 
when suddenly the same terrible cry that had kept him 
awake in the latter part of the night resounded through 
the forest, and at the same time there appeared on a 
high bank on the other shore a huge mass of a dirty 
grey colour, which hurled itself downhill, plunged into 
the river, and began to swim across at a terrific speed. 
It was a grizzly bear of tremendous size. So fast did it 
swim, that in no time it had nearly caught up with the 
last of the squaws, a young woman with twin babies at 
her back, whose cries, often interrupted by the water 
getting into their mouths, would have melted the heart of 
a stone. The three Indians who had remained on the 
bank did their utmost to stop the bear by shooting their 
poisoned arrows at it ; but the distance was too great, and 
the huge animal came on so fast that in another minute 
mother and children would be lost. The Baron could not 
remain a spectator of so terrible a scene. He came out 
of the thicket where he was hidden, and frightened the 



STORIES ABOUT BEARS 



79 



Indians almost as much as if he had been another bear. 
Resting his gun on the trunk of a tree, he fired at the 
distance of 125 yards, and hit the animal right on the 
head. It dived several times, and the water all round 
was dyed red with blood ; but the wound was not mortal, 
and it continued on its way, only more slowly. After 






w-^/e 




urging the Indian, who seemed to be the unhappy woman's 
husband, to go into the water to help her — for, through 
terror and fatigue, she could no longer swim — the Baron 
took deliberate aim again and fired. The second shot, 
like the first, hit the bear on the head, but again without 
killing it. It stopped the brute, however, long enough to 



8o STORIES ABOUT BEARS 

let the poor woman get to shore, where she fainted, and 
was carried away by the men to the forest, leaving the 
Baron and the bear to fight out their duel alone. The 
Baron had barely time to reload and climb to the top of 
one of the trees, when the bear was already at the foot 
of it. So near was he when he stood upright, that the 
Baron could feel his horrid breath. Up to then the 
Baron thought that all bears could climb like squirrels ; 
fortunately for him he was mistaken. Expecting to be 
taken by storm, he fired straight in the creature's face. 
The two balls took a different course: one went through 
the jaw and came out by the neck, the other went into 
the chest. The bear uttered a terrific roar, stiffened 
itself in a last effort to reach him, and fell heavily on its 
back at the foot of the tree. The Baron might have thought 
him dead had he not already seen such wonderful resur- 
rections on the part of bears ; but the four shots, though at 
first they dazed and troubled the beast, seemed afterwards 
to act as spurs, and he rose furious and returned to the 
charge. The Baron tried to use his revolver, but, finding 
it impossible, he drew out his axe from his belt, and dealt 
a violent blow at the bear's head, which nearly split it in 
two, and sent the blood splashing in all directions. The 
bear again fell to the ground, this time to rise no more. 
The Baron being now convinced that the grizzly bear is 
no tree-climber, took his time to draw out his revolver, to 
take aim and fire. The shot put out one of the bear's 
eyes, the axe had already taken out the other. This 
finished him, but his death struggles lasted twenty minutes, 
during which the tree was nearly uprooted. When 
all was at an end the Baron came down ; he cut off the 
formidable claws, and broke off the teeth with an axe to 
make a trophy in imitation of the Indians, and then pro- 
ceeded to skin him and cut him up. The Indians, who 
had been watching the combat at a safe distance, now 
came back, enthusiastic. They surrounded them, the 
victor and the vanquished, and danced a war-dance, sing- 



STORIES ABOUT BEARS 81 

ing impromptu words. The Baron, seated on the bear's 
carcase, joined in the chorus ; but the Indians, not content 
with that, insisted on his joining in the dance as well. 
The rejoicing oyer, the Baron divided among the twenty 
Indians the fleah of the bear — about 15 lb. or 20 lb. fell 
to each. The skin he kept to himself, and the claws, of 
which the Indians made him a warrior's necklace, hanging 
it round his ueck like an order of knighthood.^ 

1 The young reader must no longer expect such adventures as the 
Baron de Wogan achieved. 



82 



STORIES ABOUT ANTS 

If any one will watch an ant-hill on a fine day in April, 
he will see the little inhabitants begin to rouse them- 
selves from their winter's sleep, which lasts from the 
month of October, with the red ant at all events. Groups 
of them come out to the top of the ant-hill to warm and 
thaw themselves in the rays of the sun. Some, more 
active and robust, run in and out, waking up the lazy, 
hurrying the laggards, and rousing all the little commu- 
nity to begin their summer habits. But this activity does 
not last long; they are as yet only half awake, and still 
numb and torpid from the winter's cold, and the little 
sihrong increases or diminishes as the sun shines or dis- 
appears behind a cloud. As two, half-past two, and three 
o'clock arrive, they have nearly all disappeared inside the 
ant-heap, leaving only a few warriors, of a larger make 
and tried courage, to watch over the well-being of the little 
republic and to close up all openings with tiny chips of 
wood, dry leaves, and shreds of moss, so as to hide the en- 
trances from human eye. Two or three sentinels wander 
round to see that all is secure. And then they enter, and 
all is still. 

If we come back again in about a week, we shall 
find the ants in the middle of their regular migration 
to their summer quarters, not far from their winter 
ones. This takes place, with the red ant, at all events, 
with great regularity every April and October. The red 
ant is beyond doubt a slave-owner; the slaves may be 
easily recognised from their masters by being of a smaller 
make and light yellow colour. As soon as the masters 



STORIES ABOUT ANTS Zz 

have fixed the day of their ' flitting,* they begin probably 
to ensure the consent of the slaves by violently seizing 
them, and rolling them into a ball, and then grasping them 
firmly they set off towards the summer quarters at full 
gallop, if an ant can be said to gallop. The master ant 
is in a great hurry to get rid of his living burden ; he goes 
straight ahead in spite of all obstacles, avoiding all in- 
terruptions and delays, and as soon as he arrives at 
the summer ant-heap, plunges in, deposits the slave all 
breathless and terrified from his forced journey, and sets 
off back for another. 

Darwin, who closely studied the migrations of the 
ant, says that they differ in their means of transport: 
one sort is carried by the slaves ; the other, our friend the 
red ant, scientifically called ' formica sanguinea,' carries 
his property carefully in his mouth. It seems strange 
to us that the master should carry the slave, but no 
stranger than it w^ould appear to the ants if they should 
begin to study our habits, that some of us should sit in 
a carriage and be driven by the coachman. The slave, 
once installed in his summer quarters, seldom appears 
again before the autumn exodus, unless in the event of 
some disturbance in the camp, or its invasion by some ants 
of a hostile tribe, when the slaves take part in the defence 
and especially watch over the young ones. The slaves 
seem to be carpenters and miners, and warriors when 
necessary. They build the dwelling, repair it, of which 
it has constant need, and defend if in case of attack with 
dauntless courage. But their principal duties seem to be 
to take charge of the development of the young, and to 
feed the masters — no small task, as there seem to be ten 
masters to one slave, and they seem incapable of eating 
unless fed. Experiments have been tried of removing 
the slaves from them, and though sugar and every sort of 
tempting food is put down beside them, they will starve 
rather than help themselves. In fact, one wonders what 
the masters can be left for but to drive the slaves, which 



84 STORIES ABOUT ANTS 

they do with great ardour. A French gentleman who 
spent years studying the habits of the ants, tried one 
day, by way of experiment, to take a slave away from its 
master; he had great difficulty in removing it from its 
bearer, who struggled furiously and clung to its burden. 
Wlien at last the slave was set free, instead of profiting by 
its liberty, it turned round and round in a circle as if dazed, 
then hid itself under a dead leaf. A master ant presently 
came along, an animated conversation took place, and the 
slave ant was seized upon and borne off again to bondage. 
The same gentleman another day observed a slave ant ven- 
ture out to the entrance to the ant-hill to enjoy the warmth 
of the sun. A great master ant spied it and set to with 
blows of its horns (antennae they are called) to persuade it 
that that was not its place. Finding the slave persisted 
in not understanding, the master resorted to force, and 
seizing it by its head, without taking the trouble to roll it 
up, as they are generally carried, he hurled it into the 
ant-hill, where no doubt it received the punishment it 
deserved. 

If we came back to the ant-heap a week after our last 
visit, we should find the migration finished if the weather 
has been fine; but ants, especially after their first awak- 
ing, are extremely sensitive to wind and rain, and only 
work well in fine weather. They are equally affected by 
weather before a storm: even though the sun may be 
shining, they will remain in the ant-heap with closed 
doors. If it is shut before midday, the storm will burst 
before evening ; if it is shut before eight or nine in the 
morning, the rain will fall before noon. 

All this time we have been speaking only of the red 
ant; but there are any number of different kinds in Europe, 
not to mention the enormous ants of the tropics, who 
march in such armies that the people fly before them, 
deserting their villages. Different species differ totally 
in their habits and ways of building and living. The 
greater number of species live apart, and not in a com- 



STORIES ABOUT ANTS 85 

munity with an elaborately constructed house like the 
red ant. The little black ant is the commonest in this 
country, and the busiest and most active. She is the 
first to awake, in March, sometimes in February, and the 
last to sleep, sometimes not till November. Their instincts 
and habits of activity, however, are apt to deceive them, 
and they get up too soon. The French gentleman already 
mentioned observed an instance of the kind. On Feb- 
ruary 24, after an unusually mild winter, the sun shone as 
if it were already summer, and it was difficult to persuade 
oneself that it was not, except that there were no leaves 
on the trees, no birds singing in the branches, and no 
insects humming in the air. First our friend went to 
examine the red-ant heap, which was closed as usual, all 
the inhabitants being still plunged in their winter sleep. 
The black ants, on the contrary, were all awake and 
lively, and seemed persuaded that the fine weather had 
come to stay. Their instincts deceived them, for that night 
it froze ; rain, snow, and fog succeeded each other in turn, 
and when next he visited the ant-heap he found them 
lying in masses, stiff and dead, before the entrance to 
their dwelling. 

Between the red and black ants there is great enmity, 
and terrible combats take place. When they fight they 
grasp each other like men wrestling, and each tries to 
throw the other down, and break his back. The con- 
quered remain on the battlefield, nearly broken in two, 
and feebly waving their paws, till they slowly expire in 
agonies. The conqueror, on the other hand, carries away 
his dead to burial and his wounded to the camp, and then, 
entering triumphantly himself, closes the doors after him. 
The gentleman already quoted witnessed the funeral of 
an ant. He had passed the ant-heap about a quarter 
of an hour, and left, as he thought, all the inhabitants 
behind him, when he saw what appeared to be an enor- 
mous red ant making for home. On stooping to look 
more closely, he saw that it was one ant carrying another. 



86 STORIES ABOUT ANTS 

He succeeded in separating them from each other, and 
then saw that the burden was neither a slave nor a 
prisoner, but a dead comrade being carried back to the 
ant-heap for a decent burial ; for if ants fall into the hands 
of the enemy, they are subjected if alive to the most cruel 
tortures and if dead to mutilations. Usually, when an 
ant is relieved of anything it is carrying — whether it be a 
slave, a wounded ant, or some eatable — it will set off at 
full speed and let the burden be picked up by the next 
passing ant; but this one made no attempt to run away, 
and only turned round and round in a perplexed and irre- 
solute way, till its dead friend was put down beside it, 
then it seized its precious burden and set off homewards 
with it. Travellers even tell that in Algeria there are ant 
cemeteries near the ant-heaps. 

No lover of animals doubts that they have a language 
of their own, which we are too stupid or deaf to under- 
stand. Anyone who studies the ways of the ants sees, 
beyond a doubt, that they too have a way of communicat- 
ing with each other. For instance, an ant was one day 
seen at some distance from the ant-hill, and evidently in 
no hurry to go back to it. In the middle of the path she 
perceived a large dead snail. She began by going round 
and round it, then climbed on its back, and walked all 
over it. Having satisfied herself that it was a choice 
morsel, but too large for her to carry home alone, she 
set off at once to seek help. On the way she met one of 
her companions; she ran at once to her; they rubbed 
their antennae together, and evidently an animated con- 
versation took place, for the second ant set off immediately 
in the direction of the snail. The first one continued on 
her way home, communicating with every ant she met in 
the same way ; by the time she disappeared inside the 
ant-heap, an endless file of busy little ants were on their 
way to take their share of the spoil. In ten minutes the 
snail was completely covered by the little throng, and by 
the evening every trace of it had vanished. 



STORIES ABOUT ANTS 87 

Recent observations have proved that the time-hon- 
oured idea of the ant storing up provision for the winter 
is a delusion, a delusion which La Fontaine's famous 
fable, ' Le Fourmis et la Cigale,' has done much to 
spread and confirm. It is now known, as we have al- 
ready seen, that ants sleep all winter, and that the food 
which we constantly see them laden with is for immediate 
consumption in the camp. They eat all kinds of insects 
— hornets and cockchafers are favourite dishes — but the 
choicest morsel is a fine fat green caterpillar, caught 
alive. They seize it, some by its head, some by its tail ; 
it struggles, it writhes, and sometimes succeeds in freeing 
itself from its enemies ; but they do not consider them- 
selves beaten, and attack it again. Little by little it 
becomes stupefied from the discharges of formic acid 
the ants throw out from their bodies, and presently it 
succumbs to their renewed forces. Finally, though the 
struggle may last an hour or more, it is borne to the 
ant-heap and disappears, to be devoured by the inmates. 
Perhaps these short ' Stories about Ants ' may induce some 
of you to follow the advice of the Preacher, and ' go 
to the ant' yourselves for more. 



SB 



THE TAMING OF AN OTTERS 



Otters used once to be very common in England in the 
neighbourhood of rivers, and even in some instances of 
the sea, but in many places where they once lived in great 
numbers they have now ceased to exist. They destroy 
large quantities of fish, though they are so dainty that 
they only care for the upper parts of the body. If the 
rivers are frozen and no fish are to be had, they will eat 
poultry, or even lambs ; and if these are not to be found, 
they can get on quite well for a long time on the bark of 
trees or on young branches. 

Fierce though otters are when brought to bay, they 
can easily be tamed if they are caught young enough. 
More than a hundred years ago the monks of Autun, in 
France, found a baby otter only a few weeks old, and took 
it back to the convent, and fed it upon milk for nearly two 
months, when it was promoted to soup and fish and 
vegetables, the food of the good monks. It was not very 
sociable with strange animals, but it made great friends 
with a dog and cat who had known it from a baby, and 
they would play together half the day. At night it had a 
bed in one of the rooms, but in the day it always pre- 
ferred a heap of straw when it was tired of running about. 
Curious to say, this otter was not at all fond of the water, 
and it was very seldom that it would go near a basin of 
water that was always carefully left near its bed. When 
it did, it was only to wash its face and front paws, after 
which it would go for a run in the courtyard, or curl 

1 From Bingley's British Quadrupeds. 



THE TAMING OF AN OTTER 89 

itself to sleep in the sun. Indeed it seemed to have such 
an objection to water of all kinds, that the monks won- 
dered whether it knew how to swim. So one day, when 
they were not so busy as usual, some of the brothers took 
it off to a good-sized pond, and waited to see what it would 
do. The otter smelt about cautiously for a little, and then, 
recognising that here was something it had seen before, 
ducked its head and wetted its feet as it did in the morn- 
ings. This did not satisfy the monks, who threw it right 
in, upon which it instantly swam to the other shore, and 
came round again to its friends. 

All tame otters are not, however, as forgetful of the 
habits and manners of their race as this one was, and in 
some parts they have even been taught to fish for their 
masters instead of themselves. Careful directions are 
given for their proper teaching, and a great deal of patience 
is needful, because if an animal is once frightened or 
made angry, there is not much hope of training it afterwards. 
To begin with, it must be fed while it is very young on 
milk or soup, and when it gets older, on bread and the 
heads of fishes, and it must get its food from one person 
only, to whom it will soon get accustomed and attached. 
The next step is to have a sort of leather bag made, stuffed 
with wool and shaped like a fish, large enough for the 
animal to take in its mouth. Finally, he must wear a collar 
formed on the principle of a slip noose, which can tighten 
when a long string that is fastened to it, is pulled. This 
is, of course, to teach the otter to drop the fish after he 
has caught it. 

The master then leads the otter slowly behind him, 
till by this means he has learned how to follow, and then 
he has to be made to understand the meanings of certain 
words and tones. So the man says to him, ' Come here,' 
and pulls the cord; and after this has been repeated 
several times, the otter gradually begins to connect the 
words with the action. Then the string is dropped, and 
the otter trots up obedfently without it. After that, the 



90 



THE TAMING OF AN OTTER 



sham fish is placed on the ground, and the collar, which 
seems rather like a horse's bit, is pulled so as to force the 
mouth open, while the master exclaims ' Take it ! ' and 
when the otter is quite perfect in this (which most likely 
will not happen for a long time) the collar is loosened, 
and he is told to ' drop it.' 

Last of all, he is led down to a river with clear shallow 
water, where a small dead fish is thrown in. This he 
catches at once, and then the cord which has been 
fastened to his neck is gently pulled, and he gives up his 
prize to his master. Then live fish are put in instead of 
the dead one, and when they are killed, the otter is given 
the heads as a reward. 

Of course some masters have a special talent for 
teaching these things, and some otters are specially apt 
pupils. This must have been the case with the otter 
belonging to a Mr. Campbell who lived near Inverness. 
It would sometimes catch eight or ten salmon in a day, 
and never attempted to eat them ; while a man in Sweden, 
called Nilsson, and his family, lived entirely on the fish 
that was caught for them by their otter. When he is in 
his wild state, the otter lives in holes in the rocks, or among 
the roots of trees, though occasionally he has been known 
to burrow under ground, having his door in the water, and 
only a very tiny window opening landwards, so that he 
may not die of suffocation. 



91 



THE STORY OF ANDROCLES AND THE LION 

Many hundred years ago, there lived in the north of Africa 
a poor Roman slave called Androcles. His master held 
great power and authority in the country, but he was a 
hard, cruel man, and his slaves led a very unhappy life. 
They had little to eat, had to work hard, and were often 
punished and tortured if they failed to satisfy their master's 
caprices. For long Androcles had borne with the hard- 
ships of his life, but at last he could bear it no longer, 
and he made up his mind to run away. He knew that it 
was a great risk, for he had no friends in that foreign 
country with whom he could seek safety and protection ; 
and he was aware that if he was overtaken and caught 
he would be put to a cruel death. But even death, he 
thought, would not be so hard as the life he now led, and 
it w^as possible that he might escape to the sea-coast, and 
somehow some day get back to Rome and find a kinder 
master. 

So he waited till the old moon had waned to a tiny 
gold thread in the skies, and then, one dark night, he 
slipped out of his master's house, and, creeping through 
the deserted forum and along the silent town, he passed 
out of the city into the vineyards and corn-fields lying 
outside the walls. In the cool night air he walked rapidly. 
From time to time he was startled by the sudden barking 
of a dog, or the sound of voices coming from some late 
revellers in the villas which stood beside the road along 
which he hurried. But as he got further into the country 
these sounds ceased, and there was silence and darkness 



92 STORY OF ANDROCLES AND THE LION 

all round him. When the sun rose he had already 
gone many miles away from the town in which he had 
been so miserable. But now a new terror oppressed him 
— the terror of great loneliness. He had got into a wild, 
barren country, where there was no sign of human habi- 
tation. A thick growth of low trees and thorny mimosa 
bushes spread out before him, and as he tried to thread 
his way through them he was severely scratched, and his 
scant garments torn by the long thorns. Besides the 
sun was very hot, and the trees were not high enough to 
afford him any shade. He was worn out with hunger 
and fatigue, and he longed to lie down and rest. But to 
lie down in that fierce sun would have meant death, and 
he struggled on, hoping to find some wild berries to eat, 
and some water to quench his thirst. But when he came 
out of the scrub-wood, he found he was as badly off as 
before. A long, low line of rocky cliffs rose before him, 
but there were no houses, and he saw no hope of finding 
food. He was so tired that he could not wander further, 
and seeing a cave which looked cool and dark in the side 
of the cliffs, he crept into it, and, stretching his tired 
limbs on the sandy floor, fell fast asleep. 

Suddenly he was awakened by a noise that made his 
blood run cold. The roar of a wild beast sounded in his 
ears, and as he started trembling and in terror to his feet, 
he beheld a huge, tawny lion, with great glistening white 
teeth, standing in the entrance of the cave. It was im- 
possible to fly, for the lion barred the way. Immovable 
with fear, Androcles stood rooted to the spot, waiting for 
the lion to spring on him and tear him limb from limb. 

But the lion did not move. Making a low moan as if 
in great pain, it stood licking its huge paw, from which 
Androcles now saw that blood was flowing freely. Seeing 
the poor animal in such pain, and noticing how gentle 
it seemed, Androcles forgot his own terror, and slowly 
approached the lion, who held up its paw as if asking 
the man to help it. Then Androcles saw that a monster 




ANDUOCLES IN THE LION'S CAVE 



STORY OF ANDROCLES AND THE LION 95 

thorn had entered the paw, making a deep cut, and causing 
great pain and swelling. Swiftly but firnily he drew the 
thorn out, and pressed the swelling to try to stop the 
flowing of the blood. Relieved of the pain, the lion 
quietly lay down at Androcles' feet, slowly moving his 
great bushy tail from side to side as a dog does when it 
feels happy and comfortable. 

From that moment Androcles and the lion became 
devoted friends. After lying for a little while at his feet, 
licking the poor wounded paw, the lion got up and limped 
out of the cave. A few minutes later it returned with a 
little dead rabbit in its mouth, which it put down on the 
floor of the cave beside Androcles. The poor man, who 
was starving with hunger, cooked the rabbit somehow, 
and ate it. In the evening, led by the lion, he found a 
place where there was a spring, at which he quenched his 
dreadful thirst. 

And so for three years Androcles and the lion lived 
together in the cave ; wandering about the woods together 
by day, sleeping together at night. For in summer the 
cave was cooler than the woods, and in winter it was 
warmer. 

At last the longing in Androcles' heart to live once 
more with his fellow-men became so great that he felt he 
could remain in the woods no longer, but that he must 
return to a town, and take his chance of being caught and 
killed as a runaway slave. And so one morning he left 
the cave, and wandered away in the direction where he 
thought the sea and the large towns lay. But in a few 
days he was captured by a band of soldiers who were 
patrolling the country in search of fugitive slaves, and he 
was put in chains and sent as a prisoner to Rome. 

Here he was cast into prison and tried for the crime 
of having run away from his master. He was condemned 
as a punishment to be torn to pieces by wild beasts on 
the first public holiday, in the great circus at Rome. 

Wlien the day arrived Androcles was brought out of 
his prison, dressed in a simple, short tunic, and with a 



96 STORY OF ANDROCLES AND THE LION 

scarf round his right arm. He was given a lance with 
which to defend himself — a forlorn hope, as he knew that 
he had to fight with a powerful lion which had been kept 
without food for some days to make it more savage and 
bloodthirsty. As he stepped into the arena of the huge 
circus, above the sound of the voices of thousands on 
thousands of spectators he could hear the savage roar of 
the wild beasts from their cages below the floor on which 
he stood. 

Of a sudden the silence of expectation fell on the spec- 
tators, for a signal had been given, and the cage con- 
taining the lion with which Androcles had to fight had 
been shot up into the arena from the floor below. A 
moment later, with a fierce spring and a savage roar, the 
great animal had sprung out of its cage into the arena, 
and with a bound had rushed at the spot where Androcles 
stood trembling. But suddenly, as he saw Androcles, the 
lion stood still, wondering. Then quickly but quietly it 
approached him, and gently moved its tail and licked 
the man's hands, and fawned upon him like a great dog. 
And Androcles patted the lion's head, and gave a sob of 
recognition, for he knew that it was his own lion, with 
whom he had lived and lodged all those months and years. 

And, seeing this strange and wonderful meeting between 
the man and the wild beast, all the people marvelled, and 
the emperor, from his high seat above the arena, sent for 
Androcles, and bade him tell his story and explain this 
mystery. And the emperor was so delighted with the 
story that he said Androcles was to be released and to be 
made a free man from that hour. And he rewarded him 
with money, and ordered that the lion was to belong to 
him, and to accompany him wherever he went. 

And when the people in Rome met Androcles walking, 
followed by his faithful lion, they used to point at them 
and say, ' That is the lion, the guest of the man, and that 
is the man, the doctor of the lion.' ^ 

1 Apparently this nice lion did not bite anybody, when he took his 
walks abroad. Or, possibly, he was muzzled. — Ed. 




ANDROCLES IN THE AKENA 



99 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

I 

Most people have heard of Alexandre Dumas, the great 
French novelist who wrote ' The Three Musketeers ' 
and many other delightful historical romances. Besides 
being a great novelist, M. Dumas was a most kind and 
generous man — kind both to human beings and to animals. 
He had a great many pets, of which he gives us the his- 
tory in one of his books. Here are some of the stories 
about them in his own words. 

I was living, he says, at Monte Cristo (this was the 
name of his villa at St. -Germain s) ; I lived there alone, 
except for the visitors I received. I love solitude, for 
solitude is necessary to anyone who works much. How- 
ever, I do not like complete loneliness; what I love is 
that of the Garden of Eden, a solitude peopled with animals. 
Therefore, in my wilderness at Monte Cristo, without 
being quite like Adam in every way, I had a kind of small 
earthly paradise. 

This is the list of my animals. I had a number of 
dogs, of which the chief was Pritchard. I had a vulture 
named Diogenes ; three monkeys, one of which bore the 
name of a celebrated translator, another that of a famous 
novelist, and the third, which was a female, that of a 
charming actress. We will call the writer Potich, the 
novelist the Last of the Laidmanoirs, and the lady Made- 
moiselle Desgarcins. I had a great blue and yellow macaw 
called Buvat, a green and yellow parroquet called Papa 
Everard, a cat called Mysouff a golden pheasant called 



AiWiO 



loo MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

Lucullus, and finally, a cock called Caesar. Let us give 
honour where honour is due, and begin with the history 
of Pritchard. 

I had an acquaintance named M. Lerat, who having 
heard me say I had no dog to take out shooting, said, 
' Ah ! how glad I am to be able to give you something 
you will really like ! A friend of mine who lives in Scot- 
land has sent me a pointer of the very best breed. I will 
give him to you. Bring Pritchard,' he added to his two 
little girls. 

How could I refuse a present offered so cordially? 
Pritchard was brought in. 

He was an odd-looking dog to be called a pointer! 
He was long-haired, grey and white, with ears nearly 
erect, mustard-coloured eyes, and a beautifully feathered 
tail. Except for the tail, he could scarcely be called a 
handsome dog. 

M. Lerat seemed even more delighted to give the 
present than I was to receive it, which showed what a 
good heart he had. 

'The children call the dog Pritchard,' he said; 'but if 
you don't like the name, call him what you please.' 

I had no objection to the name ; my opinion was that 
if anyone had cause to complain, it was the dog himself. 
Pritchard, therefore, continued to be called Pritchard. 
He was at this time about nine or ten months old, and 
ought to begin his education, so I sent him to a game- 
keeper named Vatrin to learn his duties. But, two hours 
after I had sent Pritchard to Vatrin, he was back again at 
my house. He was not made welcome ; on the contrary, 
he received a good beating from Michel, who was my 
gardener, porter, butler, and confidential servant all in 
one, and who took Pritchard back to Vatrin. Vatrin was 
astonished; Pritchard had been shut up with the other 
dogs in the kennel, and he must have jumped over the 
enclosure, which was a high one. Early the next morn- 
ing, when the housemaid had opened my front door, there 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS loi 

was Pritchard sitting outside. Michel again beat the dog, 
and again took him back to Vatrin, who this time put a 
collar round his neck and chained him up. Michel came 
back and informed me of this severe but necessary 
measure. Vatrin sent a message to say that I should not 
see Pritchard again until his education was finished. 
The next day, while I was writing in a little summer- 
house in my garden, I heard a furious barking. It was 
Pritchard fighting with a great Pyrenean sheepdog which 
another of my friends had just given me. This dog was 
named Mouton, because of his white woolly hair like a 
sheep's, not on account of his disposition, which was re- 
markably savage. Pritchard was rescued by Michel from 
Mouton's enormous jaws, once more beaten, and for the 
third time taken back to Vatrin. Pritchard, it appears, 
had eaten his collar, though how he managed it Vatrin 
never knew. He was now shut up in a shed, and unless 
he ate the walls or the door, he could not possibly get 
out. He tried both, and finding the door the more 
digestible, he ate the door; and the next day at dinner- 
time, Pritchard walked into the dining-room wagging his 
plumy tail, his yellow eyes shining with satisfaction. 
This time Pritchard was neither beaten nor taken back ; 
we waited till Vatrin should come to hold a council of 
war as to what was to be done with him. The next day 
Vatrin appeared. 

'Did you ever see such a rascal?' he began. Vatrin 
was so excited that he had forgotten to say ' Good morn- 
ing ' or ' How do you do ? ' 

' I tell you,' said he, ' that rascal Pritchard puts me in 
such a rage that I have crunched the stem of my pipe 
three times between my teeth and broken it, and my wife 
has had to tie it up with string. He'll ruin me in pipes, 
that brute — that vagabond ! ' 

' Pritchard, do you hear what is said about you ? ' 
said I. 

Pritchard heard, but perhaps did not think it mattered 



I02 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

mucli about Vatrin's pipes, for he only looked at me 
affectionately and beat upon the ground with his tail. 

' I don't know what to do with him,' said Vatrin. ' If 
I keep him he'll eat holes in the house, I suppose ; yet T 
don't like to give him up — he's only a dog. It's humi- 
liating for a man, don't you know?' 

' I'll tell you what, Vatrin,' said I. ' We will take him 
down to Vesinet, and go for a walk through your pre- 
serves, and then we shall see whether it is worth while 
to take any more trouble with this vagabond, as you call 
him.' 

'I call him by his name. It oughtn't to be Pritchard; 
it should be Bluebeard, it should be Blunderbore, it 
should be Judas Iscariot! ' 

Vatrin enumerated all the greatest villains he could 
think of at the moment. 

I called Michel. 

' Michel, give me my shooting shoes and gaiters ; we 
will go to Vesinet to see what Pritchard can do.' 

' You will see, sir,' said Michel, ' that you will be better 
pleased than you think.' For Michel always had a liking 
for Pritchard. 

We went down a steep hill to Vesinet, Michel following 
with Pritchard on a leash. At the steepest place I turned 
round. ' Look there upon the bridge in front of us, 
Michel,' I said, 'there is a dog very like Pritchard.' 
Michel looked behind him. There was nothing but the 
leather straps in his hand ; Pritchard had cut it through 
with his teeth, and was now standing on the bridge 
amusing himself by looking at the water through the 
railing. 

'He is a vagabond!' said Vatrin. 'Look! where is 
he off to now ? ' 

'He has gone,' said I, 'to see what my neighbour 
Correge has got for luncheon.' Sure enough, the next 
moment Pritchard was seen coming out of M. Correge's 
back door, pursued by a maid servant with a broom. He 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 103 

had a veal cutlet in his mouth, which he had just taken 
out of the frying-pan. 

' Monsieur Dumas ! ' cried the maid, * Monsieur 
Dumas ! stop your dog ! ' 

We tried; but Pritchard passed between Michel and 
me like a flash of lightning. 

' It seems,' said Michel, ' that he likes his veal under- 
done.' 

' My good woman,* I said to the cook, who was still 
pursuing Pritchard, ' I fear that you are losing time, and 
that you will never see your cutlet again.' 

' Well, then, let me tell you, sir, that you have no right 
to keep and feed a thief like that.' 

' It is you, my good woman, who are feeding him to- 
day, not I.' 

'Me!' said the cook, 'it's — it's M. Correge. And 
what will M. Correge say, I should like to know ? ' 

' He will say, like Michel, that it seems Pritchard likes 
his veal underdone.' 

' Well, but he'll not be pleased — he will think it's my 
fault.' 

'Never mind, I will invite your master to luncheon 
with me.' 

' All the same, if your dog goes on like that, he will 
come to a bad end. That is all I have to say — he will 
come to a bad end.' And she stretched out her broom 
in an attitude of malediction towards the spot where 
Pritchard had disappeared. 

We three stood looking at one another. ' Well,' said I, 
' we have lost Pritchard.' 

' We'll soon find him,' said Michel. 

We therefore set off to find Pritchard, whistling and 
calling to him, as we walked on towards Vatrin's shooting 
ground. This search lasted for a good half -hour, Pritchard 
not taking the slightest notice of our appeals. At last 
Michel stopped. 

* Sir,' he said, ' look there ! Just come and look.' 



I04 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

* Well, what? ' said I, going to him. 

* Look ! ' said Michel, pointing. I followed the direc- 
tion of Michel's finger, and saw Pritchard in a perfectly 
immovable attitude, as rigid as if carved in stone. 

' Vatrin,' said I, ' come here.' Vatrin came. I showed 
him Pritchard. 

' I think he is making a point,' said Vatrin. Michel 
thought so too. 

'But what is he pointing at?' I asked. We cau- 
tiously came nearer to Pritchard, who never stirred. 

' He certainly is pointing,' said Vatrin. Then making 
a sign to me — ' Look there ! ' he said. ' Do you see any- 
thing?' 

' Nothing.' 

' Wliat ! you don't see a rabbit sitting ? If I only had 
my stick, I'd knock it on the head, and it would make a 
nice stew for your dinner.' 

' Oh ! ' said Michel, ' if that's all, I'll cut you a 
stick.' 

' Well, but Pritchard might leave off pointing.' 

' No fear of him — I'll answer for him — unless, indeed, 
the rabbit goes away.' 

Vatrin proceeded to cut a stick. Pritchard never 
moved, only from time to time he turned his yellow eyes 
upon us, which shone like a topaz. 

' Have patience,' said Michel. ' Can't you see that 
M. Vatrin is cutting a stick ? ' And Pritchard seemed to 
understand as he turned his eye on Vatrin. 

' You have still time to take off the branches,' said 
Michel. 

When the branches were taken off and the stick was 
quite finished, Vatrin approached cautiously, took a good 
aim, and struck with all his might into the middle of 
the tuft of grass where the rabbit was sitting. He had 
killed it! 

Pritchard darted in upon the rabbit, but Vatrin took it 
from him, and Michel slipped it into the lining of his coat. 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 105 

This pocket had already held a good many rabbits in its 
time! 

Vatrin turned to congratulate Pritchard, but he had 
disappeared. 

' He's off to find another rabbit,' said Michel. 

And accordingly, after ten minutes or so, we came 
upon Pritchard making another point. This time Vatrin 
had a stick ready cut ; and after a minute, plunging his 
hands into a brier bush, he pulled out by the ears a second 
rabbit. 

' There, Michel,' he said, ' put that into your other 
pocket.' 

'Oh,' said Michel, 'there's room for five more in this 
one. ' 

^ Hallo, Michel ! people don't say those things before 
a magistrate.' And turning to Vatrin I added, ' Let us try 
once more, Vatrin — the number three is approved by the 
gods.' 

' May be,' said Vatrin, ' but perhaps it won't be ap- 
proved by M. Guerin.' 

M. Guerin was the police inspector. 

Next time we came upon Pritchard pointing, Vatrin 
said, ' I wonder how long he would stay like that;' and 
he pulled out his watch. 

' Well, Vatrin,' said I, ' you shall try the experiment, 
as it is in your own vocation ; but I am afraid I have not 
the time to spare.' 

Michel and I then returned home. Vatrin followed 
with Pritchard an hour afterwards. 

' Five-and-twenty minutes ! ' he called out as soon as 
he was within hearing. ' And if the rabbit had not gone 
away, the dog would have been there now.' 

' Well, Vatrin, what do you think of him? ' 

' Why, I say he is a good pointer ; he has only to learn 
to retrieve, and that you can teach him yourself. I need 
not keep him any longer.' 

' Do you hear, Michel ? ' 



io6 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

' Oh, sir,' said Michel, ' he cau do that already. He 
retrieves like an angel ! ' 

This failed to convey to me an exact idea of the way 
in which Pritchard retrieved. But Michel threw a hand- 
kerchief, and Pritchard brought it back. He then threw 
one of the rabbits that Vatrin carried, and Pritchard 
brought back the rabbit. Michel then fetched an egg and 
placed it on the ground. Pritchard retrieved the egg as 
he had done the rabbit and the handkerchief. 

' Well,' said Vatrin, 'the animal knows all that human 
skill can teach him. He wants nothing now but practice. 
And when one thinks,' he added, ' that if the rascal would 
only come in to heel, he would be worth twenty pounds 
if he was worth a penny.' 

' True,' said I with a sigh, ' but you may give up hope, 
Vatrin ; that is a thing he will never consent to/ 



n 

I think that the time has now come to tell my readers 
a little about Mademoiselle Desgarcins, Potich, and the 
Last of the Laidmanoirs. Mademoiselle Desgarcins was a 
tiny monkey ; I do not know the place of her birth, but 
I brought her from Havre, where I had gone — I don't 
know why — perhaps to look at the sea. But I thought 
I must bring something home with me from Havre. I 
was walking there on the quay, when at the door of a bird- 
fancier's shop I saw a green monkej^ and a blue and yellow 
macaw. The monkey put its paw through the bars of its 
cage and caught hold of my coat, while the blue parrot 
turned its head and looked at me in such an affectionate 
manner that I stopped, holding the monkey's paw with 
one hand, and scratching the parrot's head with the other. 
The little monkey gently drew my hand within reach of 
her mouth, the parrot half shut its ej^es and made a little 
purring noise to express its pleasure. 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AXD HIS BEASTS 107 

' Monsieur Dumas,' said the shopman, coming out 
with the air of a man who was more decided to sell than 




MONSIEUR DUMAS, MAY I ACCOMMODATK YOU WITH MY MONKEY AND 
MY PARKOT ? ' 



I was to buy; 'Monsieur Dumas, may I accommodate 
you with my monkey and my parrot?' It would have 



io8 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

been more to the purpose if he had said, ' Monsieii: 
Dumas, may I incommode you with my monkey and my 
parrot? ' However, after a little bargaining, I bought 
both animals, as well as a cage for the monkey and a 
perch for the parrot; and as soon as 1 arrived at home, 
I introduced them to Michel. 

' This,' said Michel, ' is the green monkey of Senegal 
— Cercopithecus sahcea.' 

I looked at Michel in the greatest astonishment. ' Do 
you know Latin, Michel? ' 

' I don't know Latin, but I know my " Dictionary of 
Natural History.'" 

' Oh, indeed ! And do you know what bird this is ? ' 
I asked, showing him the parrot. 

' To be sure I know it,' said Michel. ' It is the blue 
and yellow macaw — Macrocercus avararanna. Oh, sir, 
why did you not bring a female as well as a male ? ' 

* What is the use, Michel, since parrots will not breed 
in this country ? ' 

' There you make a mistake, sir ; the blue macaw will 
breed in France.' 

' In the south, perhaps? ' 

' It need not be in the south, sir.' 

' Where then ? ' 

'At Caen.' 

' At Caen ? I did not know Caen had a climate which 
permits parrots to rear their young. Go and fetch my 
gazetteer.' 

' You will soon see,' said Michel as he brought it. I 
read: ' Caen, capital of the department of Calvados, upon 
the Orne and the Odon: 223 kilometres west of Paris, 
41,806 inhabitants.' 

' You will see,' said Michel, ' the parrots are coming.' 

' Great trade in plaster, salt, wood — taken by English 
in 1346 — retaken by the French &c., &c. — never mind 
the date — That is all, Michel.' 

' What ! Your dictionary never says that the arara- 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 109 

ranna, otherwise called the blue macaw, produces young 
at Caen ? ' 

' No, Michel, it does not say that here.' 

' What a dictionary ! Just wait till I fetch you mine 
and you will see.' 

Michel returned in a few minutes with his book of 
Natural History. 

* You will soon see, sir,' he said, opening his dictionary 
in his turn. ' Parrot — here it is — parrots are monogamous.' 

' As you know Latin, Michel, of course you know 
what monogamous means.' 

'That means that they can sing scales — gamut, I 
suppose ? * 

' Well, no, Michel, not exactly. It means that they 
have only one "wife."' 

* Indeed, sir? That is because they talk like us most 
likely. Now, I have found the place: "It was long 
believed that parrots were incapable of breeding in Europe, 
but the contrary has been proved on a pair of blue 
macaws which lived at Caen. M. Lamouroux furnishes 
the details of these results." * 

' Let us hear the details which M. Lamouroux 
furnishes.' 

' " These macaws, from March 1818 until August 1822, 
including a period of four years and a half, laid, in all, 
sixty-two eggs."' 

' Michel, I never said they did not lay eggs ; what I said 
was — ' 

'"Out of this number,"' continued Michel in a loud 
voice, '"twenty-five young macaws were hatched, of 
which only ten died. The others lived and continued 
perfectly healthy." ' 

' Michel, I confess to having entertained false ideas 
on the subject of macaws.' 

* " They laid at all seasons of the year," * continued 
Michel, ' " and more eggs were hatched in the latter than 
in the former years.'" 



no MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

' Michel, I have no more to say.* 

'"The number of eggs m the nest varied. There 
have been as many as six at a time. " ' 
' Michel, I yield, rescue or no rescue ! ' 
' Only,' said Michel, shutting the book, ' you must be 
careful not to give them bitter almonds or parsle3^' 

' Not bitter almonds,' I answered, ' because the}^ con^ 
tain prussic acid ; but why not parsley ? ' 

Michel, who had kept his thumb in the page, reopened 
the book. ' " Parsley and bitter almonds," ' he read, 
' " are a violent poison to parrots." ' 
' All right, Michel, I shall remember.' 
I remembered so well, that some time after, hearing 
that M. Persil had died suddenly (persil being the French 
for parsley), I exclaimed, much shocked : ' Ah ! poor man, 
how unfortunate! He must have been eating parrot!' 
However, the news was afterwards contradicted. 

The next day I desired Michel to tell the carpenter 
to make a new cage for Mademoiselle Desgarcins, who 
would certainly die of cramp if left in her small travel- 
ling cage. But Michel, with a solemn face, said it was 
unnecessary. ' For,' said he, ' I am sorry to tell you, sir, 
that a misfortune has happened. A weasel has killed 
the golden pheasant. You will, however, have it for your 
dinner to-day.' 

I did not refuse, though the prospect of this repast 
caused me no great pleasure. I am very fond of game, 
but somehow prefer pheasants which have been shot to 
those killed by weasels. 

' Then,' said I, ' if the cage is empty, let us put in the 
monkey.' We brought the little cage close to the big 
cage, and opened both doors. The monkey sprang into 
her new abode, bounded from perch to perch, and then 
came and looked at me through the bars, making grimaces 
and uttering plaintive cries. 

' She is unhappy without a companion,' said Michel. 
' Suppose we give her the parrot ? ' 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS iii 

' You know that little boy, an Auvergnat, who comes 

here with his monkey asking for pennies. If I were you, 

sir, I would buy that monkey.' 

' And why that monkey rather than another? ' 

' He has been so well educated and is so gentle. He 

has a cap with a feather, and he takes it off when you give 

him a nut or a bit of sugar.' 




* Can he do anything else? ' 
' He can fight a duel.' 
'Is that ail?' 

' No, he can also catch fleas on his master.' 
' But, Michel, do you think that that youth would part 
with so useful an animal ? ' 



112 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

' We can but ask him, and there he is at this moment! ' 
And he called to the boy to come in. The monkey was 
sitting on a box which the little boy carried on his back, 
and when his master took off his cap, the monkey did the 
same. It had a nice gentle little face, and I remarked to 
Michel that it was very like a well-known translator of 
my acquaintance. 

' If I have the happiness to become the owner of this 
charming animal,' I continued, ' we will call it Potich.' 
And giving Michel forty francs, I left him to make his 
bargain with the little Auvergnat. 



ni 

I had not entered m}^ study since my return from Havre, 
and there is always a pleasure in coming home again 
after an absence. I was glad to come back, and looked 
about me with a pleased smile, feeling sure that the fur- 
niture and ornaments of the room, if they could speak, 
would say they were glad to see me again. As I glanced 
from one familiar object to another, I saw, upon a seat 
by the fire, a thing like a black and white muff, which I 
had never seen before. When I came closer, I saw that 
the muff was a little cat, curled up, half asleep, and purring 
loudly. I called the cook, whose name was Madame 
Lamarque. She came in after a minute or two. 

' So sorry to have kept you waiting, but you see, sir, I 
was making a white sauce, and you, who can cook your- 
self, know how quickly those sauces curdle if you are not 
looking after them.' 

'Yes, I know that, Madame Lamarque; but what I 
do not know is, where this new guest of mine comes 
from.' And I pointed to the cat. 

'Ah, sir!' said Madame Lamarque in a sentimental 
tone, ' that is an antony.' 

' An antony, Madame Lamarque ! What is that? ' 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 113 

* In other words, an orphan — a foundling, sir.* 
' Poor little beast ! ' 

* I felt sure that would interest you, sir.' 

' And where did you find it, Madame L^marque? ' 

'In the cellar — I heard a little cry — miaow, miaow, 
miaow ! and I said to myself, " That must be a cat! " ' 

' No ! did you actually say that ? ' 

' Yes, and I went down myself, sir, and found the poor 
little thing behind the sticks. Then I recollected how 
you had once said, "We ought to have a cat in the 
house."' 

'Did I say so? I think you are making a mistake, 
IMadame Lamarque.' 

' Indeed, sir, you did say so. Then I said to myself, 
" Providence has sent us the cat which my master wishes 
for." And now there is one question I must ask you, sir. 
What shall we call the cat ? ' 

' We will call it Mysouff, if you have no objection. 
And please be careful, Madame Lamarque, that it does not 
eat my quails and turtle-doves, or any of my little foreign 
birds.' 

' If M. Dumas is afraid of that,' said Michel, coming 
in, ' there is a method of preventing cats from eating 
birds.' 

'And what is the method, my good friend? ' 

' You have a bird in a cage. Very well. You cover 
three sides of the cage, you make a gridiron red-hot, you 
put it against the uncovered side of the cage, you let out 
the cat, and you leave the room. The cat, when it makes 
its spring, jumps against the hot gridiron. The hotter 
the gridu'on is the better the cat is afterwards.* 

' Thank you, Michel. And what of the troubadour 
and his monkey ? ' 

' To be sure ; I was coming to tell you about that. 
It is all right, sir ; you are to have Potich for forty francs, 
only you must give the boy two white mice and a guinea- 
pig in return.' 



114 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

' But where am I to find two white mice and a guinea- 
pig?' 

' If you will leave the commission to me, I will see that 
they are found.' 

I left the commission to Michel. 

*If you won't think me impertinent, sk,' said Madame 
Lamarque, 'I should so like to know what Mysouff 
means.' 

' Mysouff just means Mysouff, Madame Lamarque.' 

' It is a cat's name, then? ' 

' Certainly, since Mysouff the First was so-called. It 
is true, Madame Lamarque, you never knew Mysouff.' 
And I became so thoughtful that Madame Lamarque was 
kind enough to withdraw quietly, without asking any 
questions about Mysouff the First. 

That name had taken me back to fifteen years ago, 
when my mother was still living. I had then the great 
happiness of having a mother to scold me sometimes. At 
the time I speak of, I had a situation in the service of the 
Due d'Orleans, with a salary of 1,500 francs. My work 
occupied me from ten in the morning until five in the 
afternoon. We had a cat in those days whose name was 
Mysouff. This cat had missed his vocation — he ought to 
have been a dog. Every morning I started for my office 
at half-past nine, and came back every evening at half- 
past five. Every morning Mysouff followed me to the 
corner of a particular street, and every evening I found 
him in the same street, at the same corner, waiting for 
me. Now the curious thing was that on the days when 
I had found some amusement elsewhere, and was not 
coming home to dinner, it was no use to open the door 
for Mysouff to go and meet me.^ Mysouff, in the attitude 
of the serpent with its tail in its mouth, refused to stir 
from his cushion. On the other hand, the days I did 
come, Mysouff would scratch at the door until someone 

^ A remarkable instance of telepathy in the Cat. — A, L. 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 115 

opened it for him. My mother was very fond of Mysouff ; 
she used to call him her barometer. 

' Mysouff marks my good and my bad weather,' my 
dear mother would say ; ' the days you come in are my 
days of sunshine; my rainy days are when you stay 
away.' 

When I came home, I used to see Mysouff at the street 
corner, sitting quite still and gazing into the distance. As 
soon as he caught sight of me, he began to move his tail ; 
then as I drew nearer, he rose and walked backwards and 
forwards across the pavement with his back arched and 
his tail in the air. When I reached him, he jumped up 
upon me as a dog would have done, and bounded and 
played round me as I walked towards the house; but 
when I was close to it he dashed in at full speed. Two 
seconds after, I used to see my mother at the door. 

Never again in this world, but in the next perhaps, I 
shall see her standing waiting for me at the door. 

That is what I was thinking of, dear readers, when 
the name of Mysouff brought back all these recollections ; 
so you understand why I did not answer Madame La- 
marque's questions. 

Henceforth Mysouff II. enjoyed the same privileges 
that Mysouff I. had done, although, as will be seen later, 
he was not distinguished by similar virtues, but was, in 
fact, a very different sort of cat. 

IV 

The following Sunday, when my son Alexandre and 
one or two intimate friends were assembled in my room, a 
second Auvergnat boy, with a second monkey, demanded 
admittance, and said that a friend having told him that 
M. Dumas had bought his monkey for forty francs, two 
white mice, and a guinea-pig, he was prepared to offer 
his for the same price. My friends urged me to buy the 
second monkey. 



n6 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

' Do buy this charming creature,' said my artist friend 
Giraud. 

' Yes, do "buy this ridiculous little beast,* said Alex- 
andre. 

' Buy him, indeed,' said I ; ' have I forty francs to give 
away every day, to say nothing of a guinea-pig and two 
white mice ? ' 

' Gentlemen,' said Alexandre, ' I am sorry to tell you 
that my father is, without exception, the most avaricious 
man living.' 

My guests exclaimed, but Alexandre said that one day 
he would prove the truth of his assertion. I was now 
called upon to admire the monkey, and to remark how 
like he was to a friend of ours. Giraud, who was painting 
a portrait of this gentleman, said that if I would let the 
monkey sit to him, it would help him very much in his 
work, and Maquet, another of my guests, offered, amidst 
general applause, to make me a present of it.^ This de- 
cided me. 

' You see,' said Alexandre, ' he accepts.' 

' Come, young man,' said I to the Auvergnat, ' embrace 
your monkey for the last time, and if you have any tears 
to shed, shed them without delay. ' 

When the full price was paid, the boy made an attempt 
to do as I told hun, but the Last of the Laidmanou's re- 
fused to be embraced by his former master, and as soon 
as the latter had gone away, he seemed delighted and 
began to dance, while Mademoiselle Desgarcins in her 
cage danced, too, with all her might. 

'Look!' said Maquet, 'they like each other. Let us 
complete the happiness of these interesting animals.' 

We shut them up in the cage together, to the great 
delight of Mademoiselle Desgarcins, who did not care for 
Potich, and much preferred her new admirer. Potich, 
indeed, showed signs of jealousy, but, not being armed 

i Maquet. The immortal Augustus MacKeat, 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 117 

with the sword which he used to have when he fought 
duels, he could not wash out his affronts in the blood 
of his rival, but became a prey to silent melancholy and 
wounded affection. 

While we were still looking at the monkeys, a servant 
came in bringing a tray with wine and seltzer water. 

' I say,' said Alexandre, ' let us make Mademoiselle 
Desgarcins open the seltzer-water bottle ! ' and he put the 
bottle inside the cage on the floor. No sooner had he 
done so, than all three monkeys surrounded it and looked 
at it with the greatest curiosity. Mademoiselle Desgarcins 
was the first to understand that something would happen 
if she undid the four crossed wires which held down the 
cork. She accordingly set to work, first with her fingers, 
and then with her teeth, and it was not long before she 
undid the first three. She next attacked the fourth, 
while the whole company, both men and monkeys, 
watched her proceedings with breathless attention. Pre- 
sently a frightful explosion was heard: Mademoiselle 
Desgarcins was knocked over by the cork and drenched 
with seltzer water, while Potich and the Last of the 
Laidmanoirs fled to the top of their cage, uttering piercing 
cries. 

' Oh ! ' cried Alexandre, ' I'll give my share of seltzer 
water to see her open another bottle ! ' Mademoiselle 
Desgarcins had got up, shaken herself, and gone to rejoin 
her companions, who were still howling lamentably. 

' You don't suppose she'll let herself be caught a second 
time,' said Giraud. 

' Do you know,' said Maquet, ' I should not wonder if 
she would. I believe her curiosity would still be stronger 
than her fear.' 

' Monkeys,' said Michel, who had come in on hearing 
their cries, ' are more obstinate than mules. The more 
seltzer-water bottles you give them, the more they will 
uncork.' 

* Do you think so, Michel?* 



ii8 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

*You know, of course, how they catch them in their 
own country.' 

' No, Michel. ' 

' What ! you don't know that^ gentlemen ? ' said 
Michel, full of compassion for our ignorance. ' You know 
that monkeys are very fond of Indian corn. Well, you 
put some Indian corn into a bottle, the neck of which is 
just large enough to admit a monkey's paw. He sees the 
Indian corn through the glass ' 

*Well, Michel?' 

'He puts his hand inside, and takes a good handful 
of the Indian corn. At that moment the hunter shows 
himself. They are so obstinate — the monkeys, I mean — 
that they won't let go what they have in their hand, but 
as they can't draw their closed fist through the opening, 
there they are, you see, caught.' 

' Well, then, Michel, if ever our monkeys get out, you 
will know how to catch them again.' 

'Oh! no fear, sir, that is just what I shall do.' 

The seltzer-water experiment was successfully re- 
peated, to the triumph of Michel and the delight of Alex- 
andre, who wished to go on doing it; but I forbade him, 
seeing that poor Mademoiselle Desgarcin's nose was 
bleeding from the blow of the cork. 

'It is not that,' said Alexandre; 'it is because you 
grudge your seltzer water. I have already remarked, 
gentlemen, that my father is, I regret to say, an exceed- 
ingly avaricious man.' 



It is now my painful duty to give my readers some 
account of the infamous conduct of Mysouff II. One 
morning, on waking rather late, I saw my bedroom door 
gently opened, and the head of Michel thrust in, wearing 
such a concerned expression that I knew at once that 
something was wrong. 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 119 

' What has happened, Michel ? ' 

' Why, sir, those villains of monkeys have managed to 
twist a bar of their cage, I don't know how, until they 
have made a great hole, and now they have escaped.' 

' Well — but, Michel, we foresaw that that might occur, 
and now you have only to buy your Indian corn, and 
procure three bottles the right size.' 

'Ah! you are laughing, sir,' said Michel, reproach- 
fully, ' but you won't laugh when you know all. They 
have opened the door of the aviary * 

' And so my birds have flown away ? * 

' Sir, your six pairs of turtle doves, your fourteen 
quails, and all your little foreign birds, are eaten up ! ' ^ 

' But monkeys won't eat birds ! ' 

' No, but Master Mysouff will, and he has done it ! ' 

' The deuce he has ! I must see for myself.' 

* Yes, go yourself, sir ; you will see a sight — a field of 
battle — a massacre of St. Bartholomew ! * 

As I was coming out, Michel stopped me to point to 
Potich, who had hung himself by the tail to the branch 
of a maple, and was swinging gracefully to and fro. 
Mademoiselle Desgarcins was bounding gaily about in 
the aviary, while the Last of the Laidmanoirs was practis- 
ing gymnastics on the top of the greenhouse. ' Well, 
Michel, we must catch them. I will manage the Last of 
the Laidmanoirs if you will get hold of Mademoiselle 
Desgarcins o As to poor little Potich, he will come of his 
own accord.' 

' I wouldn't trust him, sir ; he is a hypocrite. He has 
made it up with the other one — just think of that! ' 

' What ! he has made friends with his rival in the 
affections of Mademoiselle Desgarcins?' 

' Just so, sir.' 

' That is sad indeed, Michel ; I thought only human 
beings could be guilty of so mean an action.' 

1 Let the reader compare the conduct of Mr. Gully, later ! 



I20 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 



* You see, sir, these monkeys have frequented the 
society of human beings/ 

I now advanced upon the Last of the Laidmanoirs 
with so much precaution that I 
contrived to shut him into the 
greenhouse, where he retreated 
into a corner and prepared to 
defend himself, while Potich, from 
g^ the outside, encouraged his friend 
by making horrible faces at me 
through the glass. At this mo- 
ment piercing shrieks were heard 
from Mademoiselle Desgarcins ; 
Michel had just caught her. 
These cries so enraged the Last 
of the Laidmanoirs that he dashed 
out upon me; but I parried his 
attack with the palm of my hand ; 
with which he came in contact 
so forcibly that he lost breath 




MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 121 

for a minute, and I then picked him up by the scruff 
of the neck. 

' Have you caught Mademoiselle Desgarcins ? ' I shouted 
to Michel. 

' Have you caught the Last of the Laidmanoirs ? ' 
returned he. 

' Yes ! ' we both replied in 'turn. And each bearing 
his prisoner, we returned to the cage, which had in the 
meantime been mended, and shut them up once more, 
whilst Potich, with loud lamentations, fled to the top of 
the highest tree in the garden. No sooner, however, did 
he find that his two companions were unable to get out 
of their cage, than he came down from his tree, approached 
Michel in a timid and sidelong manner, and with clasped 
hands and little plaintive cries, entreated to be shut up 
again with his friends. 

' Just see what a hypocrite he is ! ' said Michel. 

But I was of opinion that the conduct of Potich was 
prompted by devotion rather than hypocrisy ; I compared 
it to that of Regulus, who returned to Carthage to keep 
his promised word, or to King John of France, who 
voluntarily gave himself up to the English for the Countess 
of Salisbury's sake. 

Michel continued to think Potich a hypocrite, but on 
account of his repentance he was forgiven. He was put 
back into the cage, where Mademoiselle Desgarcins took 
very little notice of him. 

All this time Mysouff, having been forgotten, calmly 
remained in the aviary, and continued to crunch the 
bones of his victims with the most hardened indifference. 
It was easy enough to catch Jmn. We shut him into the 
aviary, and held a council as to what should be his 
punishment. Michel was of opinion that he should be 
shot forthwith. I was, however, opposed to his immediate 
execution, and resolved to wait until the following Sunday, 
and then to cause Mysouff to be formally tried by my 
assembled friends. The condemnation was therefore 



122 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

postponed In the meantime Mysouff remained a- 
prisoner in the very spot where his crimes had been 
committed. He continued, however, to refresh himself 
with the remains of his victims without apparent remorse, 
but Michel removed all the bodies, and confined him to a 
diet of bread and water. 

Next Sunday, having convoked a council of all my 
friends, the trial was proceeded with. Michel was 
appointed Chief Justice and Nogent Saint-Laurent was 
counsel for the ^prisoner. I may remark that the jury 
were inclined to find a verdict of guilty, and after the 
first speech of the Judge, the capital sentence seemed 
almost certain. But the skilful advocate, in a long and 
eloquent speech, brought clearly before us the innocence 
of Mysouff, the malice of the monkeys, their quickness 
and incessant activity compared with the less inventive 
minds of cats. He showed us that Mysouff was incapable 
of contemplating such a crime ; he described him wrapped 
in peaceful sleep, then, suddenly aroused from this 
innocent slumber by the abandoned creatures who, living 
as they did opposite the aviary, had doubtless long 
harboured their diabolical designs. We saw Mysouff but 
half awake, still purring innocently, stretching himself, 
opening his pink mouth, from which protruded a tongue 
like that of a heraldic lion. He shakes his ears, a proof 
that he rejects the infamous proposal that is being made 
to him; he listens; at first he refuses — the advocate 
insisted that the prisoner had begun by refusing — then, 
naturally yielding, hardly more than a kitten, corrupted 
as he had been by the cook, who instead of feeding him 
on milk or a little weak broth, as she had been told to do, 
had recklessly excited his carnivorous appetite by giving 
him pieces of liver and parings of raw chops ; the 
unfortunate young cat yields little by little, prompted 
more by good nature and weakness of mind than by 
cruelty or greed, and, only half awake, he does the bid- 
ding of the villainous monkeys, the real instigators of the 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 123 

crime. The counsel here took the prisoner in his arms, 
showed us his paws, and defied any anatomist to say that 
with paws so made, an animal could possibly open a door 
that was bolted. Finally, he borrowed Michel's Dictionary 
of Natural History, opened it at the article ' Cat,' 
' Domestic Cat,' ' Wild Cat ' ; he proved that Mysouff was 
no wild cat, seeing that nature had robed him in white, 
the colour of innocence ; then smiting the book with 
vehemence, ' Cat ! ' he exclaimed, ' Cat ! You shall now 
hear, gentlemen, what the illustrious Buffon, the man 
with lace sleeves, has to say about the cat. 

' " The cat," says M. de Buffon, "is not to be trusted, 
but it is kept to rid the house of enemies which cannot 
otherwise be destroyed. Although the cat, especially 
when young, is pleasing, nature has given it perverse and 
untrustworthy qualities which increase with age, and 
which education may conceal, but will not eradicate." 
Well, then,' exclaimed the orator, after having read this 
passage, ' what more remains to be said ? Did poor 
Mysouff come here with a false character seeking a 
situation ? Was it not the cook herself who found him — 
who took him by force from the heap of sticks behind 
which he had sought refuge? It was merely to interest 
and touch the heart of her master that she described him 
mewing in the cellar. We must reflect also, that those 
unhappy birds, his victims — I allude especially to the 
quails, which are eaten by man — though their death is 
doubtless much to be deplored, yet they must have felt 
themselves liable to death at any moment, and are now 
released from the terrors they experienced every time 
they saw the cook approaching their retreat. Finally, 
gentlemen, I appeal to your justice, and I think you will 
now admit that the interesting and unfortunate Mysouff 
has but yielded, not only to incontrollable natural instincts, 
but also to foreign influence. I claim for my client the 
plea of extenuating circumstances.' 

The counsel's pleading was received with cries of 



124 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

applause, and Mysouff, found guilty of complicity in the 
murder of the quails, turtle-doves, and other birds of 
different species, but with extenuating circumstances, was 
sentenced only to five years of monkeys. 

VI 

The next winter, certain circumstances, with which I 
need not trouble my readers, led to my making a journey 
to Algiers. I seldom make any long journey without 
bringing home some animal to add to my collection, and 
accordingly I returned from Africa accompanied by a 
vulture, which I bought from a little boy who called him- 
self a Beni-Mouffetard. I paid ten francs for the vulture, 
and made the Beni-Mouffetard a present of two more, 
in return for which he warned me that my vulture was 
excessively savage, and had already bitten off the thumb 
of an Arab and the tail of a dog. I promised to be very 
careful, and the next day I became the possessor of a 
magnificent vulture, whose only fault consisted in a strong 
desire to tear in pieces everybody who came near him. I 
bestowed on him the name of his compatriot, Jugurtha. 
He had a chain fastened to his leg, and had for further 
security been placed in a large cage made of spars. In this 
cage he travelled quite safely as far as Philippe ville, with- 
out any other accident than that he nearly bit off the finger 
of a passenger who had tried to make friends with him. 
At Philippeville a diflficulty arose. It was three miles 
from Stora, the port where we were to embark, and the 
diligence did not go on so far. I and several other gentle- 
men thought that we would like to walk to Stora, the 
scenery being beautiful and the distance not very great; 
but what was I to do about Jugurtha ? I could not ask 
a porter to carry the cage; Jugurtha would certainly 
have eaten him through the spars. I thought of a plan : 
it was to lengthen his chain eight or ten feet by means of 
a cord ; and then to drive him in front of me with a long 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 125 

pole. But the first difficulty was to induce Jugurtha to 
come out of his cage; none of us dared put our hands 
within reach of his beak. However, I managed to fasten 
the cord to his chain, then I made two men armed with 
pickaxes break away the spars. Jugurtha finding himself 
free, spread out his wings to fly away, but he could of 
course only fly as far as his cord would permit. 

Now Jugurtha was a very intelligent creature ; he saw 
that there was an obstacle in the way of his liberty, and 
that I was that obstacle ; he therefore turned upon me 
with fury, in the hope of putting me to flight, or devour- 
ing me in case of resistance. I, however, was no less 
sagacious than Jugurtha ; I had foreseen the attack, and 
provided myself with a good switch made of dogwood, as 
thick as one's forefinger, and eight feet long. With this 
switch I parried Jugurtha's attack, which astonished but 
did not stop him ; however, a second blow, given with all 
my force, made him stop short, and a third caused him to 
fly in the opposite direction, that is, towards Stora. Once 
launched upon this road, I had only to use my switch 
adroitly to make Jugurtha proceed at about the same pace 
as we did ourselves, to the great admiration of my fellow- 
travellers, and of all the people whom we met on the road. 
On our arrival at Stora Jugurtha made no difficulty about 
getting on board the steamer, and when tied to the mast, 
waited calmly while a new cage was made for him. He 
went into it of his own accord, received with gratitude the 
pieces of meat which the ship's cook gave him, and three 
daj^s after his embarkation he became so tame that he 
used to present me with his head to scratch, as a parrot 
does. I brought Jugurtha home without further adven- 
ture, and committed him to the charge of Michel. 

It was not until my return from Algiers on this occa- 
sion that I went to live at Monte Cristo, the building of 
which had been finished during my absence. Up to this 
time I had lived in a smaller house called the Villa 
Medicis, and while the other was building, Michel made 



126 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

arrangements for the proper lodging of all my animals, 
for he was much more occupied about their comfort than 
he was about mine or even his own. They had all plenty 
of room, particularly the dogs, who were not confined by 
any sort of enclosure, and Pritchard, who was naturally 
generous, kept open house with a truly Scottish hospi- 
tality. It was his custom to sit in the middle of the road 
and salute every dog that passed with a little not un- 
friendly growl ; smelling him, and permitting himself to 
be smelt in a ceremonious manner. When a mutual 
sympathy had been produced by this means, a conversa- 
tion something like this would begin : 

* Have you a good master ? ' asked the strange dog. 
' Not bad,' Pritchard would reply. 

' Does your master feed you well ? ' 

' Well, one has porridge twice a day, bones at break- 
fast and dinner, and anything one can pick up in the 
kitchen besides.' 

The stranger licked his lips. 

* You are not badly off,' said he. 

* I do not complain,' replied Pritchard. Then, seeing 
the strange dog look pensive, he added, ' Would you like 
to dine with us ? * 

The invitation was accepted at once, for dogs do not 
wait to be pressed, like some foolish human beings. 

At dinner-time Pritchard came in, followed by an un- 
known dog, who, like Pritchard, placed himself beside 
my chair, and scratched my knee with his paw in such 
a confiding way that I felt sure that Pritchard must 
have been commending my benevolence. The dog, after 
spending a pleasant evening, found that it was rather too 
late to return home, so slept comfortably on the grass 
after his good supper. Next morning he took two or three 
steps as if to go away, then changing his mind, he inquired 
of Pritchard, ' Should I be inuch in the way if I stayed 
on here ? ' 

Pritchard replied, ' You could quite well, with manage- 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 129 

ment, make them believe you are the neighbour's dog, 
and after two or three days, nobody would know you did 
not belong to the house. You might live here just as well 
as those idle useless monkeys, who do nothing but amuse 
themselves, or that greedy vulture, who eats tripe all day 
long, or that idiot of a macaw, who is always screaming 
about nothing.' 

The dog stayed, keeping in the background at first, 
but in a day or two he jumped up upon me and followed 
me every w^here, and there was another guest to feed, that 
was all. Michel asked me one day if I knew how many 
dogs there were about the place. I answered that I did 
not. 

' Sir,' said Michel, ' there are thirteen.' 

' That is an unlucky number, Michel ; you must see 
that they do not all dine together, else one of them is sure 
to die first.' 

' It is not that, though,' said Michel, ' it is the expense 
I am thinking of. Why, they would eat an ox a day, all 
those dogs ; and if you will allow me, sir, I will just take 
a whip and put the whole pack to the door, to-morrow 
morning.' 

' But, Michel, let us do it handsomely. These dogs, 
after all, do honour to the house by staying here. So give 
them a grand dinner to-morrow ; tell them that it is the 
farewell banquet, and then, at dessert, put them all to the 
door.' 

' But after all, sir, I cannot put them to the door, 
because there isn't a door.' 

' Michel,' said I, ' there are certain things in this world 
that one must just put up with, to keep up one's character 
and position. Since all these dogs have come to me, let 
them stay with me. I don't think they will ruin me, 
Michel. Only, on their own account, you should be careful 
that there are not thirteen.' 

' I will drive away one,' suggested Michel, ' and then 
there will only be twelve.' 



I30 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

*Oii the contrary, let another come, and then there 
will be fourteen.' 

Michel sighed. 

' It's a regular kennel,' he murmured. 

It was, in fact, a pack of hounds, though rather a 
mixed one. There was a Russian wolfhound, there was 
a poodle, a water spaniel, a spitz, a dachshund with 
crooked legs, a mongrel terrier, a mongrel King Charles, 
and a Turkish dog which had no hair on its body, only a 
tuft upon its head and a tassel at the end of its tail. Our 
next recruit was a little Maltese terrier, named Lisette, 
which raised the number to fourteen. After all, the ex- 
pense of these fourteen amounted to rather over two 
pounds a mouth. A single dinner given to five or six of 
my own species would have cost me three times as much, 
and they would have gone away dissatisfied ; for, even if 
they had liked my wine, they would certainly have found 
fault with my books. Out of this pack of hounds, one 
became Pritchard's particular friend and Michel's favour- 
ite. This was a dachshund with short crooked legs, a 
long body, and, as Michel said, the finest voice in the 
department of Seine-et-Oise. Portugo — that was his 
name — had in truth a most magnificent bass voice. I used 
to hear it sometimes in the night when I was writing, and 
think how that deep-toned majestic bark would please 
St. Hubert if he heard it in his grave. But what was 
Portugo doing at that hour, and why was he awake while 
the other dogs slumbered? This mystery was revealed 
one day, when a stewed rabbit was brought me for dinner. 
I inquired where the rabbit came from. 

'You thought it good, sir?' Michel asked me with a 
pleased face. 

' Excellent.* 

*Well, then, you can have one just the same every 
day, sir, if you like.' 

* Every day, Michel ? Surely that is almost too much 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 133 

to promise. Besides, I should like, before consuming so 
many rabbits, to know where they come from.' 

' You shall know that this very night, if you don't mind 
coming out with me.' 

' Ah ! Michel, I have told you before that you are a 
poacher ! ' 

' Oh, sir, as to that, I am as innocent as a baby — and, 
as I was saying, if you will only come out with me to- 
night — * 

'Must I go far, Michel?' 

' Not a hundred yards, sir.* 

* At what o'clock ? ' 

* Just at the moment when you hear Portugo's first 
bark.' 

' Very well, Michel, I will be with you.' 

I had nearly forgotten this promise, and was writing 
as usual, when Michel came into my study. It was about 
eleven o'clock, and a fine moonlight night. 

* Hallo ! * said I, ' Portugo hasn't barked yet, has he ? ' 
'No, but I was just thinking that if you waited for 

that, you would miss seeing something curious.' 

' What should I miss, Michel? ' 

' The council of war which is held between Pritchard 
and Portugo.' 

I followed Michel, and sure enough, among the four- 
teen dogs, which were mostly sleeping in different atti- 
tudes, Portugo and Pritchard were sitting up, and seemed 
to be gravely debating some important question. When 
the debate was ended, they separated ; Portugo went out 
at the gate to the high road, turned the corner, and dis- 
appeared, while Pritchard began deliberately, as if he had 
plenty of time before him, to follow the little path which 
led up to a stone quarry. We followed Pritchard, who 
took no notice of us, though he evidently knew we were 
there. He went up to the top of the quarry, examined and 
smelt about over the ground with great care, and when he 
had found a scent and assured himself that it was fresh, he 



134 MOXSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

lay down flat and waited. Almost at the same moment, 
Portugo's first bark was heard some two hundred yards 
off. Now the plan the two dogs had laid was clear to us. 
The rabbits came out of their holes in the qua,rry every 
evening to go to their feeding ground ; Pritchard found 
the scent of one ; Portugo then made a wide circuit, found 
and chased the rabbit, and, as a rabbit or a hare always 
comes back upon its former track, Pritchard, lying in 
ambush, awaited its return. Accordingly, as the sound 
of Portugo's barking came closer, we saw Pritchard's 
yellow eyes light up and flame like a topaz ; then all of 
a sudden he made a spring, and we heard a cry of fright 
and distress. 

* They've done it!' said Michel, and he went to Prit- 
chard, took out of his mouth a nice plump rabbit, gave it 
a blow behind the ears to finish it, and, opening it on the 
spot, gave the inside to the two dogs, who shared their 
portion contentedly, although they probably regretted 
Michel's interference. As Michel told me, I could have 
eaten a stewed rabbit every day for dinner, if such had 
been my desire. 

But after this, events of a different kind were taking 
place, which obliged me to leave my country pursuits, 
and I spent about two months in Paris. The day before I 
returned to St.-Germains I wrote and told Michel to 
expect me, and found him waiting for me on the road 
half way from the station. 

' I must tell you, sir,* he said, as soon as I was within 
hearing, 'that two important events have happened at 
Monte Cristo since you went away.' 

' Well, Michel, let me hear.' 

' In the first place, Pritchard got his hind foot into a 
snare and instead of staying where he was as any other 
dog would have done, he bit off his foot with his teeth, 
and so he came home upon three le^^s.' 

'But,' said I, much shocked, ' is the poor beast dead 
after such an accident?' 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 135 

<Dead, sir? Was not I there to doctor him? * 
' And what did you do to him then ? ' 
' I cut off the foot properly at the joint with a pruning 
knife. I then sewed the skin neatly over it, and now 




JUGURTHA BECOMES DIOGENES 



you would never know it was off ! Look there, the rascal 
has smelt you and is coming to meet you.' 

And at that moment Pritchard appeared, coming at full 
gallop, so that, as Michel had said, one would hardly 
have noticed that he had only three feet. My meeting 
with Pritchard was, as may be supposed, full of deep 



136 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

emotion on both sides. I was sorry for the poor animal. 
When I had recovered a little, I asked Michel what his 
other piece of news was. 

' The latest news, sir, is that Jugurtha's name is no 
longer Jugurtha.' 

'What is it then?' 

' It is Diogenes.* 

' And why ? ' 

* Look, sir! ' 

We had now reached the little avenue of ash-trees 
which formed the entrance to the villa. To the left of 
the avenue the vulture was seen walking proudly to and 
fro in an immense tub, which Michel had made into a 
house for him. 

* Ah ! now I understand,' said I. ' Of course, directly 
he lives in a tub ' 

' That's it! ' said Michel. ' Directly he lives in a tub, 
he cannot be Jugurtha any more ; he must be Diogenes.' 

I admired Michel's historical learning no less than I 
did his surgical skill, just as the year before, I had bowed 
before his superior knowledge of natural history. 

vn 

In order to lead to more incidents in the life of Prit- 
chard I must now tell my readers that I had a friend called 
Charpillon, who had a passion for poultry, and kept the 
finest hens in the whole department of Yonne. These 
hens were chiefly Cochins and Brahmapootras ; they laid 
the most beautiful brown eggs, and Charpillon surrounded 
them with every luxury and never would allow them to be 
killed. He had the inside of his hen-house painted green, 
in order that the hens, even when shut up, might fancy 
themselves in a meadow. In fact, the illusion was so 
complete, that when the hen-house was first painted, the 
hens refused to go in at night, fearing to catch cold ; but 
after a short time even the least intelligent among them 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 137 

understood that she had the good fortune to belong to a 
master who knew how to combine the useful with the 
beautiful. Whenever these hens ventured out upon the 
road, strangers would exclaim with delight, ' Oh ! what 
beautiful hens ! ' to which some one better acquainted 
with the wonders of this fortunate village would reply, 
'I should think so! These are M. Charpillon's hens.' Or, 
if the speaker were of an envious disposition, he might 
add, 'Yes indeed! hens that nothing is thought too good 
for!' 

When my friend Charpillon heard that I had returned 
from Paris, he invited me to come and stay with him to 
shoot, adding as a further inducement that he would give 
me the best and freshest eggs I had ever eaten in my life. 
Though I did not share Charpillon's great love of poultry, 
I am very fond of fresh eggs, and the nankeen-coloured 
eggs laid by his Brahma hens had an especially delicate 
flavour. But all earthly pleasures are uncertain. The 
next morning Charpillon's hens were found to have only 
laid three eggs instead of eight. Such a thing had never 
happened before, and Charpillon did not know whom to 
suspect ; however he suspected every one rather than his 
hens, and a sort of cloud began to obscure the confidence 
he had hitherto placed in the security of his enclosures. 
While these gloomy doubts were occupying us, I observed 
Michel hovering about as if he had something on his mind, 
and asked him if he wanted to speak to me. 

' I should be glad to have a few words with you, sir.* 

* In private ? ' 

' It would be better so, for the honour of Pritchard.' 

*Ah, indeed? What has the rascal been doing 
now?' 

' You remember, sir, what your solicitor said to you one 
day when I was in the room ? ' 

' What did he say, Michel ? My solicitor is a clever 
man, and says many sensible things ; still it is difficult for 
me to remember them all.' 



138 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

' Well, sir,' he said, ' find out whom the crime benefits, 
and you will find the criminal.' 

' I remember that axiom perfectly, Michel. Well? ' 

' Well, sir, whom can this crime of stolen eggs benefit 
more than Pritchard?' 

' Pritchard? You think it is he who steals the eggs? 
Pritchard, who brings home eggs without breaking them! ' 

' You mean who used to bring them. Pritchard is an 
animal who has vicious instincts, sir, and if he does not 
come to a bad end some day, I shall be surprised, that's 
all.' 

' Does Pritchard eat eggs, then? ' 

* He does ; and it is only right to say, sir, that that is 
your fault.' 

'What! my fault? My fault that Pritchard eats 
eggs?' 

Michel shook his head sadly, but nothing could shake 
his opinion. 

' Now really, Michel, this is too much ! Is it not enough 
that critics tell me that I pervert everybody's mind with 
my corrupt literature, but you must join my detractors 
and say that my bad example corrupts Pritchard ? ' 

' I beg pardon, sir, but do you remember how one day, 
at the Villa Medicis, while you were eating an egg, M. 
Rusconi who was there said something so ridiculous that 
you let the egg fall upon the floor ? ' 

' I remember that quite well.' 

* And do you remember calling in Pritchard, who was 
scraping up a bed of fuchsias in the garden, and making 
him lick up the egg ? ' 

' I do not remember him scraping up a bed of fuchsias, 
but I do recollect that he licked up my egg.' 

*Well, sir, it is that and nothing else that has been 
his ruin. Oh! he is quick enough to learn what is wrong; 
there is no need to show it him twice.' 

' Michel, you are really extremely tedious. How have 
I shown Pritchard what is wrong? ' 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 



139 



' By making him eat an egg. You see, sir, before that 
he was as innocent as a new-born babe ; he didn't know 
what an egg was — he thought it was a badly made golf 
ball. But as soon as you make him eat an egg, he learns 
what it is. Three days afterwards, M. Alexandre came 
home, and was complaining to me of his dog — that he was 
rough and tore things with his teeth in carrying them. 
"Ah! look at Pritchard," I said to him, "how gentle 
he is ! you shall see the way he carries an Qgg." So I 
fetched an egg from the kitchen, placed it on the ground, 
and said, "Fetch, Pritchard!" Pritchard didn't need 
to be told twice, but what do you think the cunning rascal 

did? You remember, some days before, Monsieur 

the gentleman who had such a bad toothache, you know. 
You recollect his coming to see you?' 

' Yes, of course I remember.' 

' Well, Pritchard pretended not to notice, but those 
yellow eyes of his notice everything. Well, all of a 
sudden he pretended to have the same toothache that 
that gentleman had, and crack ! goes the egg. Then he 
pretends to be ashamed of his awkwardness — he swallows 
it in a hurry, shell and all! I believed him — I thought 
it was an accident and fetched another egg. Scarcely 
did he make three steps with the egg in his mouth than 
the toothache comes on again, and crack ! goes the second 
egg. I began then to suspect something — I went and got 
a third, but if I hadn't stopped then he'd have eaten 
the whole basketful. So then M. Alexandre, who likes his 
joke, said, "Michel, you may possibly make a good 
musician of Pritchard, or a good astronomer, but he'll 
never be a good incubator ! " ' 

' How is it that you never told me this before, 
Michel?' 

' Because I was ashamed, sir ; for this is not the 
worst. ' 

'What! not the worst?* 

Michel shook his head. 



140 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

' He has developed an unnatural craving for eggs ; he 
got into M. Aeoyer's poultry-yard and stole all his. M. 
Acoyer came to complain to me. How do you suppose 
he lost his foot?' 

' You told me yourself — in somebody's grounds where 
he had forgotten to read the notice about trespassing.' 

'You are joking, sir — but I really believe he can 
read.' 

' Oh ! Michel, Pritchard is accused of enough sins 
without having that vice laid to his charge ! But about 
his foot?* 

' I think he caught it in some wire getting out of a 
poultry-yard.' 

' But you know it happened at night, and the hens 
are shut up at night. How could he get into the hen- 
house ? ' 

' He doesn't need to get into the hen-house after eggs ; 
he can charm the hens. Pritchard is what one may call 
a charmer.' 

' Michel, you astonish me more and more ! ' 

' Yes, indeed, sir. I knew that he used to charm 
the hens at the Villa Medicis; only M. Charpillon has 
such wonderful hens, I did not think they would have 
allowed it. But I see now all hens are alike.' 

' Then you think it is Pritchard who ' 

' I think he charms M. Charpillon's hens, and that is 
the reason they don't lay — at least, that they only lay for 
Pritchard.' 

* Indeed, Michel, I should much like to know how he 
does it ! ' 

' If you are awake very early to-morrow, sir, just look 
out of your window — you can see the poultry-yard from 
it, and you will see a sight that you have never seen 
before ! * 

' I have seen many things, Michel, including sixteen 
changes of governments, and to see something I have 
never seen before I would gladly sit up the whole night ! ' 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 141 

* There is no need for that — I can wake you at the 
right time.' 

The next day at early dawn, Michel awoke me. 

'I am read}^, Michel,' said I, coming to the window. 

' Wait, wait ! let me open it very gently. If Pritchard 
suspects that he is watched, he won't stir ; you have no 
idea how deceitful he is.' 

Michel opened the window with every possible pre- 
caution. From where I stood, I could distinctly see the 
poultry-yard, and Pritchard lying in his couch, his head 
innocently resting upon his two fore-paws. At the slight 
noise which Michel made in opening the window, Prit- 
chard pricked up his ears and half opened his yellow eye, 
but as the sound was not repeated he did not move. Ten 
minutes afterwards we heard the newly wakened hens 
begin to cluck. Pritchard immediately opened both eyes, 
stretched himself and stood upright upon his three feet. 
He then cast a glance all round him, and seeing that all 
was quiet, disappeared into a shed, and the next moment 
we saw him coming out of a sort of little window on the 
other side. From this window Pritchard easily got upon 
the sloping roof which overhung one side of the poultry- 
yard. He had now only to jump down about six feet, 
and having got into the inclosure he lay down flat in front 
of the hen-house, giving a little friendly bark. A hen 
looked out at Pritchard's call, and instead of seeming 
frightened she went to him at once and received his com- 
pliments with apparent complacency. Nor did she seem 
at all embarrassed, but proceeded to lay her ^gg^ and that 
within such easy reach of Pritchard that we had not time 
to see the egg — it was swallowed the same instant. She 
then retired cackling triumphantly, and her place was 
taken by another hen. 

' Well, now, sir,' said Michel, when Pritchard had 
swallowed his fourth egg, 'you see it is no wonder that 
Pritchard has such a clear voice. You know great singers 
always eat raw eggs the first thing in the morning.* 



142 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

* I know that, Michel, but what I don't know is how 
Pritchard proposes to get out of the poultry-yard.' 

' Just wait and see what the scoundrel will do.' 

Pritchard having finished his breakfast, or being a 
little alarmed at some noise in the house, stood up on his 
hind leg, and slipping one of his fore-paws through the 
bars of the gate, he lifted the latch and went out. 

' And when one thinks,' said Michel, ' that if anybody 
asked him why the yard door was left open, he would say 
it was because Pierre had forgotten to shut it last night ! ' 




PRITCHARD AND THE HENS 



'You think he would have the wickedness to say that^ 
Michel?' 

' Perhaps not to-day, nor yet to-morrow, because he is 
not come to his full growth, but some day, mind you, I 
should not be surprised to hear him speak. ' 



vm 



Before going out to shoot that day, I thought it only 
right to give M. Charpillon an account of Pritchard's 
proceedings. He regarded him, therefore with mingled 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 143 

feelings, in which admiration was more prominent than 
sympathy, and it was agreed that on our return the dog 
sliould be shut up in the stable, and that the stable-door 
should be bolted and padlocked. Pritchard, unsuspicious 
of our designs, ran on in front with a proud step and with 
his tail in the air. 

'You know,' said Charpillon, 'that neither men nor 
dogs are allowed to go into the vineyards. I ought as 
a magistrate to set an example, and Gaignez still more, 
as he is the mayor. So mind you keep in Pritchard.' 

' All right,' said I, ' I will keep him in.' 

But Michel, approaching, suggested that I should send 
Pritchard home with him. ' It would be safer,' he said. 
' We are quite near the house, and I have a notion that 
he might get us into some scrape by hunting in the vine- 
yards.' 

' Don't be afraid, Michel ; I have thought of a plan to 
prevent him.' 

Michel touched his hat. ' I know you are clever, 
sir — very clever ; but I don't think you are as clever as 
that!' 

' Wait till you see.' 

' Indeed, sir, you will have to be quick, for there is 
Pritchard hunting already.' 

We were just in time to see Pritchard disappear into 
a vineyard, and a moment afterwards he raised a covey 
of partridges. 

' Call in your dog,' cried Gaignez. 

I called Pritchard, who, however, turned a deaf ear. 

' Catch him,' said I to Michel. 

Michel went, and returned in a few minutes with 
Pritchard in a leash. In the meantime I had found a 
long stake, which I hung crosswise round his neck, and 
let him go loose with this ornament. Pritchard under- 
stood that he could no longer go through the vineyards, 
but the stake did not prevent his hunting, and he only 
went a good deal further off on the open ground. 



144 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

From this moment there was only one shout all along 
the line. 

' Hold in your dog, confound him ! ' 

' Keep in your Pritchard, can't you ! He's sending all 
the birds out of shot ! ' 

' Look here ! Would you mind my putting a few pellets 
into your brute of a dog ? How can anybody shoot if he 
won't keep in ? ' 

' Michel,' said I, ' catch Pritchard again.' 

' I told you so, sir. Luckily we are not far from the 
house ; I can still take him back.' 

' Not at all. I have a second idea. Catch Pritchard.' 

' After all,' said Michel, ' this is nearly as good fun as if 
we were shooting. ' 

And by-and-by he came back, dragging Pritchard by 
his stake. Pritchard had a partridge in his mouth. 

' Look at him, the thief ! ' said Michel. ' He has 
carried offM. Gaignez's partridge — I see him looking 
for it' 

' Put the partridge in your game-bag, Michel ; we will 
give him a surprise.' 

Michel hesitated. ' But,' said he, ' think of the opinion 
this rascal will have of you ! ' 

' What, Michel ? do you think Pritchard has a bad 
opinion of me ? ' 

' Oh, sir ! a shocking opinion.' 

' But what makes you think so ? ' 

' Why, sir, do you not thnik that Pritchard knows in 
his soul and conscience that when he brings you a bird 
that another gentleman has shot, he is committing a 
theft?' 

' I think he has an idea of it, certainly, Michel.* 

' Well, then, sir, if he knows he is a thief, he must take 
you for a receiver of stolen goods. Look at the articles 
Df the Code; it is said there that receivers are equally 
guilty with thieves, and should be similarly punished.' 

' Michel, you open my eyes to a whole vista of terrors. 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 147 

But we are going to try to cure Pritchard of hunting. 
When he is cured of hunting, he will be cured of 
stealing.' 

' Never, sir ! You will never cure Pritchard of his vices.' 

Still I pursued my plan, which was to put Pritchard's 
fore-leg through his collar. By this means, his right fore- 
foot being fastened to his neck, and his left hind-foot 
being cut off, he had onl}^ two to run with, the left fore- 
foot and the right hind-foot. 

' Well, indeed,' said Michel, ' if he can hunt now, the 
devil is in it.' 

He loosed Pritchard, who stood for a moment as if 
astonished, but once he had balanced himself he began to 
walk, then to trot ; then, as he found his balance better, 
he succeeded in running quicker on his two legs than 
many dogs would have done on four. 

' Where are we now, sir? ' said Michel. 

' It's that beast of a stake that balances him ! ' I 
replied, a little disappointed. ' We ought to teach him to 
dance upon the tight-rope — he would make our fortunes 
as an acrobat.' 

'You are joking again, sir. But listen! do you hear 
that?' 

The most terrible imprecations against Pritchard were 
resounding on all sides. The imprecations were followed 
by a shot, then by a howl of pain. 

' That is Pritchard's voice,' said Michel. ' Well, it is 
no more than he deserves.' 

Pritchard reappeared the next moment with a hare in 
his mouth. 

' Michel, you said that was Pritchard that howled.' 

* I would swear to it, sir.' 

' But how could he howl with a hare in his mouth ? ' 

Michel scratched his head. ' It was he all the same,' 
he said, and he went to look at Pritchard. 

'Oh, sir!' he said, 'I was right. The gentleman he 
took the hare from has shot him. His hind-leg is all over 



148 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

blood. Look ! there is M. Charpillon running after his 
hare.' 

' You know that I have just put some pellets into your 
Pritchard ? ' Charpillon called out as soon as he saw me. 

' You did quite right. ' 

' He carried off my hare.' 

' There ! You see,' said Michel, ' it is impossible to 
cure him.' 

' But when he carried away your hare, he must have 
had it in his mouth ? ' 

' Of course. Where else would he have it? ' 

' But how could he howl with a hare in his mouth ? ' 

' He put it down to howl, then he took it up again and 
made off.' 

' There's deceit for you, gentlemen ! ' exclaimed 
Michel. 

Pritchard succeeded in bringing the hare to me, but 
when he reached me he had to lie down. 

' I say,' said Charpillon, ' I hope I haven't hurt him 
more than I intended — it was a long shot.' And forgetting 
his hare, Charpillon knelt down to examine Pritchard's 
wound. It was a serious one; Pritchard had received 
live or six pellets about the region of his tail, and was 
bleeding profusely. 

' Oh, poor beast ! ' cried Charpillon. ' I wouldn't 
have fired that shot for all the hares in creation if I had 
known.' 

' Bah ! ' said Michel ; ' he won't die of it.' And, in 
fact, Pritchard, after spending three weeks with the 
vet. at St.-Germains, returned to Monte Cristo perfectly 
cured, and with his tail in the air once more. 



IX 

Soon after the disastrous event which I have just 
related the revolution of 1848 occurred in France, in 
which King Louis Philippe was dethroned and a republic 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 149 

established. You will ask what the change of govern- 
ment had to do with my beasts? Well, although, happily, 
they do not trouble their heads about politics, the revolu- 
tion did affect them a good deal ; for the P'rench public, 
being excited by these occurrences, would not buy my 
books, preferring to read the ' Guillotine,' the ' Red 
Republic,' and such like corrupt periodicals; so that I 
became for the time a very much poorer man. I was 
obliged greatly to reduce my establishment. I sold my 
three horses and two carriages for a quarter of their 
value, and I presented the Last of the Laidmanoirs, Potich, 
and Mademoiselle Desgarcins to the Jardin des Plantes 
in Paris. I had to move into a smaller house, but my 
monkeys were lodged in a palace ; this is a sort of thing 
that sometimes happens after a revolution. Mysouff also 
profited by it, for he regained his liberty on the departure 
of the monkeys. 

As to Diogenes, the vulture, I gave him to my worthy- 
neighbour Collinet, who keeps the restaurant Henri IV., 
and makes such good cutlets a la Bearnaise. There was 
no fear of Diogenes dying of hunger under his new master's 
care ; on the contrary, he improved greatly in health and 
beauty, and, doubtless as a token of gratitude to Collinet, 
he laid an egg for him every year, a thing he never 
dreamt of doing for me. Lastly, we requested Pritchard 
to cease to keep open house, and to discontinue his daily 
invitations to strange dogs to dine and sleep. I was 
obliged to give up all thoughts of shooting that year. It 
is true that Pritchard still remained to me, but then 
Pritchard, you must recollect, had only three feet ; he had 
been badly hurt when he was shot by Charpillon, and the 
revolution of February had occasioned the loss of one 
eye. 

It happened one day during that exciting period, that 
Michel was so anxious to see what was going on that he 
forgot to give Pritchard his dinner. Pritchard therefore 
invited himself to dine with the vulture, but Diogenes, 



I50 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

being of a less sociable turn, and not in a humour to be 
trifled with, dealt poor Pritchard such a blow with his 
beak as to deprive him of one of his mustard-coloured 
eyes. Pritchard's courage was unabated ; he might be 
compared to that brave field marshal of whom it was 
said that Mars had left nothing of him whole except 
his heart. But it w^as difficult, you see, to make much 
use of a dog with so many infirmities. If I had wished 
to sell him I could not have found a purchaser, nor 
would he have been considered a handsome present had 
I desired to give him away. I had no choice, then, but 
to make this old servant, badly as he had sometimes 
served me, a pensioner, a companion, in fact a friend. 
Some people told me that I might have tied a stone 
round his neck and flung him into the river ; others, that 
it was easy enough to replace him by buying a good 
retriever from Vatrin ; but although I was not yet poor 
enough to drown Pritchard, neither was I rich enough to 
buy another dog. However, later in that very year, I 
made an unexpected success in literature, and one of 
my plays brought me in a sufficient sum to take a shoot- 
ing in the department of Yonne. I went to look at this 
shooting, taking Pritchard with me. In the meantime 
my daughter wrote to tell me that she had bought an 
excellent retriever for five pounds, named Catinat, and 
that she was keeping him in the stable until my return. 
As soon as I arrived, my first care was to make Catinat's 
acquaintance. He was a rough, vigorous dog of three or 
four years old, thoughtless, violent, and quarrelsome. He 
jumped upon me till he nearly knocked me down, upset 
my daughter's work-table, and dashed about the room to 
the great danger of my china vases and ornaments. I 
therefore called Michel and informed him that the super- 
ficial acquaintance which I had made with Catinat would 
suffice for the time, and that I would defer the pleasure 
of his further intimacy until the shooting season began 
at Auxerre. 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 151 

Poor Michel, as soon as he saw Catinat, had been seized 
with a presentiment of evil. 

' Sir,' he said, ' that dog will bring some misfortune 
upon us. I do not know yet what, but something will 
happen, I know it will ! ' 

' In the meantime, Michel,' I said, ' you had better 
take Catinat back to the stable.' But Catinat had already 
left the room of his own accord and rushed downstairs 
to the dining-room, where 1 had left Pritchard. Now 
Pritchard never could endure Catinat from the first mo- 
ment he saw him; the two dogs instantly flew at one 
another with so much fury that Michel was obliged to 
call me to his assistance before we could separate them. 
Catinat was once more shut up in the stable, and Prit- 
chard conducted to his kennel in the stable-yard, which, 
in the absence of carriages and horses, was now a poultry- 
yard, inhabited by my eleven hens and my cock Caesar. 
Pritchard's friendship with the hens continued to be as 
strong as ever, and the household suffered from a scarcity 
of eggs in consequence. That evening, while my daughter 
and I were walking in the garden, Michel came to meet 
us, twisting his straw hat between his fingers, a sure sign 
that he had something important to say. 

' Well, what is it, Michel? ' I asked. 

'It came into my mind, sir,' he answered, ' while I was 
taking Pritchard to his kennel, that we never have any 
eggs because Pritchard eats them; and he eats them 
because he is in direct communication with the hens.' 

' It is evident, Michel, that if Pritchard never went into 
the poultry-yard, he would not eat the eggs.' 

' Then, do you not think, sir,' continued Michel,' that if 
we shut up Pritchard in the stable and put Catinat into 
the poultry-yard, it would be better? Catinat is an ani- 
mal without education, so far as I know ; but he is not 
such a thief as Pritchard.' 

'Do you know what will happen if you do that. 



152 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 

Michel? ' I said. ' Catinat will not eat the eggs, perhaps, 
but he will eat the hens.' 

' If a misfortune like that were to occur, I know a 
method of curing him of eating hens.' 

'Well — but in the meantime the hens would be eaten.' 

Scarcely had I uttered these words, when a frightful 
noise was heard in the stable-yard, as loud as that of a 
pack of hounds in full cry, but mingled with howls of rage 
and pain which indicated a deadly combat. 

' Michel ! ' I cried, ' do you hear that? ' 

' Oh yes, I hear it,' he answered, ' but those must be 
the neighbours' dogs fighting.' 

' Michel, those are Catinat and Pritchard killing each 
other ! ' 

' Impossible, sir — I have separated them.' 

' Well, then, they have met again.' 

' It is true,' said Michel, ' that scoundrel Pritchard can 
open the stable-door as well as any one.' 

'Then, you see, Pritchard is a dog of courage; he'll 
have opened the stable-door for Catinat on purpose to 
fight him. Be quick, Michel, I am really afraid one of 
them will be killed.' 

Michel darted into the passage which led to the stable, 
and no sooner had he disappeared than I knew from the 
lamentations which I heard that some misfortune had 
happened. In a minute or two Michel reappeared sobbing 
bitterly and carrying Pritchard in his arms. 

' Look, sir ! just look ! ' he said ; ' this is the last we 
shall see of Pritchard — look what your fine sporting dog 
has done to him. Catinat, indeed ! it is Catilina he 
should be called ! ' 

I ran up to Pritchard, full of concern — I had a great 
love for him, though he had often made me angry. He 
was a dog of much originality, and the unexpected things 
he did were only a proof of genius. 

' What do you think is the matter?' I asked Michel. 

' The matter ? — the matter is that he is dead ! * 



MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 153 

' Oh no, surely not ! ' 

' Anyhow, he'll never be good for anything again.' 
And he laid him on the ground at my feet. 

' Pritchard, my poor Pritchard ! ' I cried. 

At the sound of my voice, Pritchard opened his yellow 
eye and looked sorrowfully at me, then stretched out his 
four legs, gave one sigh, and died. Catinat had bitten 
his throat quite through, so that his death was almost 
immediate. 

' Well, Michel,' said I, ' it is not a good servant, it is 
a good friend that we have lost. You must wash him 
carefully — you shall have a towel to wrap him in — you 
shall dig his grave in the garden and we will have a 
tombstone made for him on which shall be engraved this 
epitaph : 

' Like conquering Rantzau, of courage undaunted, 
Pritchard, to thee Mars honour has granted, 
On each field of fight of a limb he bereft thee, 
Till nought but thy gallant heart scatheless was left thee.' 

As my habit was, I sought consolation for my grief in 
literary labours. Michel endeavoured to assuage his with 
the help of two bottles of red wine, with which, mingled 
with his tears, he watered the grave of the departed. I 
know this because when I came out early next morning 
to see if my wishes with regard to Pritchard's burial had 
been carried out, I found Michel stretched upon the 
ground, still in tears, and the two bottles empty by his 
side. 



^54 



THE ADVENTURES OF PYRAMUS 

Pyramus was a large brown dog, born of a good family, 
who had been given, when a mere pup, to Alexandre 
Dumas, the great French novelist, then quite a young 
man. Now the keeper to whom Pyramus first belonged 
had also a tiny little fox-cub without any relations about 
the place, so both fox-cub and dog-pup were handed over 
to the same mother, who brought them up side by side, 
until they were able to do for themselves. So when the 
keeper made young Dumas a present of Pyramus, he 
thought he had better bestow Cartouche on him as well. 

Of course it is hardly necessary to say that these fine 
names were not invented by the keeper, who had never 
heard of either Pyramus or Cartouche, but were given to 
his pets by Dumas, after he had spent a little time in 
observing their characters. 

Certainly it was a very curious study. Here were two 
animals, who had never been apart since they were born, 
and were now living together in two kennels side by 
side in the courtyard of the house, and yet after the first 
three or four months, when they were mere babies, every 
day showed some difference, and soon they ceased to be 
friends at all and became open enemies. 

The earliest fight known to have taken place between 
them happened in this way. One day some bones were 
thrown by accident within the bounds of Cartouche's 
territory, and though if they belonged to anybody, it was 
clearly Cartouche, Pyramus resolved most unfairly to get 
hold of them. The first time Pyramus tried secretly to 



THE ADVENTURES OF PYRAMUS 155 

commit this act of piracy, Cartouche growled ; the second 
time he showed his teeth ; the third time he bit. 

It must be owned that Cartouche had shown some 
excuse for his violent behaviour, because he always re- 
mained chained up, whereas Py ramus was allowed 
certain hours of liberty; and it was during one of these 
that he made up his mind to steal the bones from Car- 
touche, whose chain (he thought) would prevent any 
attempt at reprisals. Indeed, he even tried to make out 
to his conscience that probably the bones were not dainty 
enough for Cartouche, who loved delicate food, whereas 
anything was good enough for him, Pyramus. However, 
whether he wanted to eat the bones or not. Cartouche had 
no intention of letting them be stolen from him, and 
having managed to drive off Pyramus on the first occa- 
sion, he determined to get safely hold of the bones before 
his enemy was unchained again. 

Now the chains of each were the same length, four 
feet, and in addition to that, Pyramus had a bigger head 
and longer nose than Cartouche, who was much smaller 
altogether. So it follows that when they were both 
chained up, Pyramus could stretch farther towards any 
object that lay at an equal distance between their kennels. 
Pyramus knew this, and so he counted on always getting 
the better of Cartouche. 

But Cartouche had not been born a fox for nothing, 
and he watched with a scornful expression the great 
Pyramus straining at his chain with his eyes nearly jump- 
ing out of his head with greed and rage. ' Really,' said 
Cartouche to himself, ' if he goes on like that much 
longer, I shall have a mad dog for a neighbour before the 
day is out. Let me see if /can't manage better.' But as 
we know, being a much smaller animal than Pyramus, his 
nose did not come nearly so close to the bones ; and after 
one or two efforts to reach the tempting morsel which 
was lying about six feet from each kennel, he gave it up, 
and retired to his warm bed, hoping that he might some- 



156 THE ADVEXTURES OF PYRAMUS 

how hit upon some idea which would enable him to reach 
the ' bones of contention.' 

All at once he jumped up, for after hard thought he 
had got what he wanted. He trotted merrily to the 
length of his chain, and now it was Pyramus's turn to look 
on and to think with satisfaction : ' AVell, if I can't get 
them, you can't either, which is a comfort.' 

But gradually his grin of delight changed into a 
sayage snarl, as Cartouche tui-ned himself round when he 




CAKTOUCHE OUTWITS PYRAMUS 



had got to the end of his chain, and stretching out his 
paw, hooked the bone which he gradually drew within 
reach, and before P\Tamus had recoyered from his 
astonishment. Cartouche had got possession of all the 
bones and was cracking them with great enjoyment inside 
his kennel. 

It may seem yery unjust that Cartouche was always 
kept chained up, while Py ramus was allowed to roam 
about freely, but the fact was that Pyramus only ate or 
stole when he was really hungry, while Cartouche was by 



THE ADVENTURES OF PYRAMUS 157 

nature the murderer of everything he came across. One 
day he broke his chain and ran off to the fowl-yard of 
Monsieur Mauprivez, who lived next door. In less than 
ten minutes he had strangled seventeen hens and two 
cocks : nineteen corpses in all ! It was impossible to find 
any ' extenuating circumstances ' in his favour. He was 
condemned to death and promptly executed. 

Henceforth Pyramus reigned alone, and it is sad to 
think that he seemed to enjoy it, and even that his appe- 
tite grew bigger. 

It is bad enough for any dog to have an appetite like 
Pyramus when he was at home, but when he was out 
shooting, and should have been doing his duty as a 
retriever, this ^fault became a positive vice. Whatever 
might be the first bird shot by his master,, whether it 
happened to be partridge or pheasant, quail or snipe, 
down it would go into Pyramus's wide throat. It was 
seldom, indeed, that his master arrived in time to see 
even the last feathers. 

A smart blow from a whip kept him in order all the 
rest of the day, and it was very rarely that he sinned 
twice in this way while on the same expedition, but un- 
luckily before the next day's shooting came round, he 
had entirely forgotten all about his previous caning, and 
justice had to be done again. 

On two separate occasions, however, Pyramus's gi-eedi- 
ness brought its own punishment. One day his master 
was shooting with a friend in a place where a small 
wood had been cut down early in the year, and after the 
low shrubs had been sawn in pieces and bound in 
bundles, the grass was left to grow into hay, and this hay 
was now in process of cutting. The shooting party 
reached the spot just at the time that the reapers were 
having their dinner and taking their midday rest, and 
one of the reapers had laid his scythe against a little 
stack of wood about three feet high. At this moment 
a snipe got up, and M. Dumas fired and killed it. It 



158 TEE ADVENTURES OF PYRAMUS 

fell on the other side of the stack of wood against which 
the sc^^he was leaning. 

As it was the first bird he had killed that day, he knew 
of course that it would become the prey of Pyramus, so 
he did not hurry himself to go after it, but watched with 
amusement, Pyramus tearing along, even jumping over 
the stack in his haste. 

But when after giving the dog the usual time to 
swallow his fat morsel. Monsieur did not see Pyramus 
coming back to him as usual in leaps and bounds, he 
began to wonder what could have happened, and made 
hastily for the stack of wood behind which he had dis- 
appeared. There he found the unlucky Pyramus lying on 
the ground, with the point of the scythe right through his 
neck. The blood was pouring from the wound, and he 
lay motionless, with the snipe dead on the ground about 
six inches from his nose. 

The two men raised him as gently as possible, and 
carried him to the river, and here they bathed the wound 
with water. They then folded a pocket-handkerchief into 
a band, and tied it tightly round his neck to staunch the 
blood, and when this was done, and they were wondering 
how to get him home, a peasant fortunately passed 
driving a donkey with two panniers, and he was laid 
in one of the panniers and taken to the nearest village, 
where he was put safely into a carriage. 

For eight days Pyramus lay between life and death. 
For a whole month his head hung on one side, and it was 
only after six weeks (which seems like six years to a dog) 
that he was able to run about as usual, and appeared to 
have forgotten his accident. 

Only, whenever he saw a scythe he made a long round 
to avoid coming in contact with it. 

Some time afterwards he returned to the house with 
his body as full of holes as a sieve. On this occasion 
he was taking a walk through the forest, and, seeing a 
goat feeding, jumped at its throat. The goat screamed 



THE ADVENTURES OF PYBAMUS 159 

loudly, and the keeper, who was smoking at a little dis- 
tance off, ran to his help; but before he could come up 
the goat was half dead. On hearing the steps of the 
keeper, and on listening to his strong language, Pyramus 
understood very well that this stout man dressed in blue 
would have something very serious to say to him, so he 
stretched his legs to their fullest extent, and started off 
like an arrow from a bow. But, as Man Friday long ago 
remarked, ' My little ball of lead can run faster than thou,' 
the keeper's little ball of lead ran faster than Pyramus, 
and that is how he came home with all the holes in 
his body. 

There is no denying that Pyramus was a very bad 
dog, and as his master was fond of him, it is impossible 
to believe that he can always have been hungry, as, for 
instance, when he jumped up in a butcher's shop to steal 
a piece of meat and got the hook on which it was hung 
through his own jaws, so that someone had to come and 
unhook him. But hungry or not. Monsieur Dumas had 
no time to be perpetually getting him out of scrapes, and 
when a few months later an Englishman who wanted a 
sporting dog took a fancy to Pyramus, his master was not 
altogether sorry to say good-bye. 



i6o 



THE STORY OF A WEASEL'^ 



Weasels are so sharp and clever and untiring, that their 
activity has been made into a proverb; and, like many 
other sharp and clever creatures, they are very mis- 
chievous, and fond of killing rabbits and chickens, and 
even of sucking their eggs, which they do so carefully that 
they hardly ever break one. 

A French lady, called Mademoiselle de Laistre, a friend 
of the great naturalist. Monsieur de Buffon, once found a 
weasel when he was very young indeed, and, as she was 
fond of pets, she thought she would bring him up. Now 
a weasel is a little creature, and very pretty. It has short 
legs and a long tail, and its skin is reddish brown above 
and white below. Its eyes are black and its ears are 
small, and its body is about seven inches in length. But 
this weasel was much smaller than that when it went to 
live with Mademoiselle de Laistre. 

Of course it had to be taught : all young things have, 
and this weasel knew nothing. The good lady first began 
with pouring some milk into the hollow of her hand and 
letting it drink from it. Very soon, being a weasel of 
polite instincts, it would not take milk in any other way. 
After its dinner, when a little fresh meat was added to the 
milk, it would run to a soft quilt that was spread in its 
mistress's bedroom, and, having soon discovered that it 
could get inside the quilt at a place where the stitches 
had given way, it proceeded to tuck itself up comfortably 
for an hour or two. This was all very well in the day, 

1 Bingley's Animal Biography. 



THE STORY OF A WEASEL 



i6i 



but Mademoiselle de Laistre did not feel at all safe in 
leaving such a mischievous creature loose during the night, 




MADEMOISELLE DE LAISTRE AND HER WEASEL 
IT 



1 62 THE STORY OF A WEASEL 

so whenever she went to bed, she shut the weasel up in 
a little cage that stood close by. If she happened to wake 
up early, she would unfasten the cage, and then the weasel 
would come into her bed, and, nestling up to her, go to 
sleep again. If she was already dressed w^hen he was let 
out, he would jump all about her, and would never once 
miss alighting on her hands, even when they were held 
out three feet from him. 

All his ways were pretty and gentle. He would sit 
on his mistress's shoulder and give little soft pats to her 
chin, or would run over a whole room full of people at the 
mere sound of her voice. He was very fond of the sun, 
too, and would tumble about and murmur with delight 
whenever it shone on him. The little weasel was rather 
a thirsty animal, but he would not drink much at a time, 
and, when he had once tasted milk, could not be persuaded 
to touch rain-water. Baths were quite new to him, too, 
and he could not make up his mind to them, even in the 
heat, from which he suffered a good deal. His nearest 
approach to bathing was a wet cloth wrapped round him, 
and this evidently gave him great pleasure. 

Cats and dogs about the place condescended to make 
friends with him, and they never quarrelled nor hurt each 
other. Indeed, in many of their instincts and ways, 
weasels are not very unlike cats, and one quality they 
have in common is their curiosity. Nothing was dull or 
uninteresting to this little weasel. It was impossible to 
open a drawer or take out a paper without his little sharp 
nose being thrust round the corner, and he would even 
jump on his mistress's hands, the better to read her letters. 
He was also very fond of attracting attention, and in the 
midst of his play would always stop to see if anyone was 
watching. If he found that no one was troubling about 
him, he would at once leave off, and, curling himself up, 
go off into a sleep so sound that he might be taken up by 
the head and swung backwards and forwards quite a long 
time before he would wake up and be himself again. 



i63 



STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 

Wolves are found in the colder and more northern parts 
of Asia and North America, and over the whole of Europe, 
except the British Isles, where they were exterminated 
long ago. Some say Lochiel killed the last wolf in Scot- 
land, some say a gamekeeper was the hero. The wolf 
very much resembles the dog in appearance, except 
that his eyes are set in obliquely, and nearer his nose 
His coat is commonly of a tawny grey colour, but some- 
times black or white, and he varies in size according 
to the climate. Some wolves only measure two and a 
half feet in length, not counting the tail, others are much 
larger. They have remarkably keen sight, hearing, and 
sense of smell, and such a stealthy gait, that their way 
of slinking along has passed into a proverb in coun- 
tries where wolves are common. They live in rocky 
caverns in the forest, sleep by day like other beasts of 
prey, and go out at night to forage for food. They eat 
small birds, reptiles, the smaller animals, such as rats and 
mice, some fruits, grapes among others, and rotten apples ; 
they do not disdain even dead bodies, nor garbage of any 
sort. But in times of famine or prolonged snow, when 
all these provisions fail them, and they feel the pinch of 
hunger, then woe betide the flocks of sheep or the human 
beings they may encounter. In 1450 wolves actually 
came into Paris and attacked the citizens. Even so lately 
as the long and severe winter of 1894-5, the wolves came 
down into the plains of Piedmont and the lower Alpes 
Maritimes in such numbers that the soldiery had to be 



i64 STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 

called out to destroy them. In such times a wolf in 
broad daylight will steal up to a flock of sheep peacefully 
feeding, seize on a fine fat one, and make away with it, 
unseen and unsuspected even by the watchful sheep dog. 
Should a first attempt prove successful, he will return 
again and again, till, finding he can no longer rob that 
flock unmolested, he will look out for another one still un- 
suspicious. If he once gets inside a sheep-fold at night, 
he massacres and mangles right and left. When he has 
slain to his heart's content, he goes off with a victim 
and devours it, then comes back for a second, a third, and 
a fourth carcase, which he carries away to hide under a 
heap of branches or dead leaves. When dawn breaks, 
he returns gorged with food to his lair, leaving the 
ground strewn with the bodies of the slain. The wolf 
even contrives to get the better of his natural enemy, 
the dog, using stratagem and cleverness in the place of 
strength. If he spies a gawky long-legged puppy swag- 
gering about his own farmyard, he will come closer and 
entice him out to play by means of every sort of caper and 
gambol. When the young simpleton has been induced 
to come out beyond the farmyard, the wolf, throwing off 
his disguise of amiable playfulness, falls upon the dog and 
carries him away to make a meal of. In the case of a 
dog stronger and more capable of making resistance the 
stratagem requires two wolves ; one appears to the dog in 
its true character of wolf, and then disappears into an 
ambush, where the other lies hidden. The dog, follow- 
ing its natural instinct, pursues the wolf into the ambush, 
where the two conspirators soon make an end of it. 

So numerous have wolves always been in the rural 
districts of France, that from the earliest times there has 
been an institution called the Louveterie, for their exter- 
mination. Since the French Revolution this has been 
very much modified, but there is still a reward of so much 
per head for every wolf killed. Under ordinary circum- 
stances the wolf will not only not attack man, but will 



STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 165 

flee from him, for he is as cowardly as he is crafty. But if 
driven by hunger he will pursue, or rather he will follow 
a solitary traveller for miles, dogging his footsteps, and 
always keeping near, sometimes on one side, sometimes 
on the other, till the man, harassed and worn out by 
fatigue and fright, is compelled to halt; then the wolf, 
who had been waiting for this opportunity, springs on him 
and devours him. 

Audubon, in his ' Quadrupeds of America,' tells a story 
of two young negroes who lived on a plantation on the 
banks of the Ohio in the State of Kentucky, about the year 
1820. They each had a sweetheart, whom they used to go 
to visit every evening after their work was done. These 
negresses lived on another plantation about four miles 
away, but a short cut led across a large cane brake. 
"When winter set in with its long dark nights no ray of 
light illuminated this dismal swamp. But the negroes 
continued their nightly expeditions notwithstanding, arm- 
ing themselves by way of precaution with their axes. 
One dark night they set off over a thin crust of snow, the 
reflection from which afforded all the light they had to 
guide them on their way. Hardly a star appeared through 
the dense masses of cloud that nearly covered the sky, 
and menaced more snow. About half way to their desti- 
nation the negroes' blood froze at the sound of a long and 
fearful howl that rent the air ; they knew it could only 
come from a pack of hungry and perhaps desperate 
wolves. They paused to listen, and only a dismal silence 
succeeded. In the impenetrable darkness nothing was 
visible a few feet beyond them ; grasping their axes they 
went on their way though with quaking hearts. Suddenly, 
in single file, out of the darkness sprang several wolves, 
who seized on the first man, inflicting terrible wounds 
with their fangs on his legs and arms ; others as ravenous 
leapt on his companion, and dragged him to the ground. 
Both negroes fought manfully, but soon one had ceased to 
move, and the other, despairing of aiding his companion, 



1 66 



STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 



threw down his axe and sprang on to the branch of a tree, 
where he found safety and shelter for the rest of that 




■WHEN DAY broke' 



miserable night. When day broke, only the bones of his 
friend lay scattered on the blood-stained, trampled snow; 
three dead wolves lay near, but the rest of the pack had 



STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 167 

betaken themselves to their lair, to sleep away the effects 
of their night's gorge. 

A sledge journey through the plains of Siberia in 
winter is a perilous undertaking. If a pack of hungry 
wolves get on the track of a sledge, the travellers know, 
as soon as they hear the horrid howls and see the grey 
forms stealing swiftly across the snow, that their chances 
of escape are small. If the sledge stops one instant men 
and horses are lost ; the only safety is in flight at utmost 
speed. It is indeed a race for life ! The horses, mad with 
terror, seem to have wings; the wolves, no less swift, 
pursue them, their cruel eyes gleaming with the lust for 
blood. From time to time a shot is fired, and a wolf falls 
dead in the snow; bolder than the others, he has tried to 
climb into the sledge and has met his reward. This inci- 
dent gives a momentary respite to the pursued, for the 
murderous pack will pause to tear in pieces and devour 
their dead comrade ; then, further inflamed with the taste 
of blood, they will continue the headlong pursuit with 
redoubled vigour. 

Should the travellers be able to reach a village or 
friendly farmhouse before the horses are completely ex- 
hausted, the wolves, frightened by the lights, will slink 
away into the forest, balked this time of their prey. On 
the other hand, should no refuge be near, the wolves will 
keep up with the horses till the poor beasts stumble and 
fall from fatigue, when the whole pack will instantly 
spring upon men and horses, and in a few moments the 
bloodstained snow alone tells the tale. 

There have been instances, but fortunately few, of 
wolves with a perfect craving for human flesh. Such 
was the notorious Bete (or beast) du Gevaudan, that from 
the year 1764 and onwards ravaged the district of that 
name, in Auvergne, to the south of the centre of France. 
This wolf was of enormous size, measuring six feet from 
the point of its nose to the tip of its tail. It devoured 
eighty-three persons, principally women and children, and 



i68 STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 

seriously wounded twenty-five or thirty others. It was 
attacked from first to last by between tivo and three 
hundred thousand hunters, probably not all at once. With 
half a dozen wolves, each equal to 200,000 men, a country 
could afford to do without an army. But the wolf of 
Gevaudan was no common wolf. He never married, 
having no leisure, fortunately for the human race. The 
whole of France was in a state of alarm on its account ; 
the peasants dared no longer go to their work in the fields 
alone and unarmed. Every day brought tidings of some 
fresh trouble ; in the morning he would spread terror and 
confusion in some village in the plains, in the evening 
he would carry off some hapless victim from some moun- 
tain hamlet fifteen or twenty leagues away. Five little 
shepherd boys, feeding their flocks on the mountain-side, 
were attacked suddenly by the ferocious beast, who made 
off with the youngest of them ; the others, armed only with 
sticks, pursued the wolf, and attacked it so valiantly that 
they compelled it to drop its prey and slink off into the 
wood. A poor woman was sitting at her cottage door 
with her three children, when the wolf came down on 
them and attempted to carry off each of the children in 
turn. The mother fought so courageously in defence of 
her little ones that she succeeded in putting the wolf to 
flight, but in so doing was terribly bitten herself, and the 
youngest child died of his wounds. 

Sometimes twenty or thirty parishes joined forces to 
attack the beast, led by the most experienced huntsmen 
and the chief louvetier of the kingdom. On one occasion 
twenty thousand hunters surrounded the forest of Prei- 
ni^res, where it lay concealed ; but on this, as well as every 
other occasion, the wolf escaped in the most surprising — 
one might almost say miraculous — manner, disappearing 
as if he had been turned into smoke. Some hunters de- 
clared that their bullets had rebounded off him, flattened 
and harmless. Others alleged that when he had been 
shot, like the great Dundee, with a silver bullet (a well- 



STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 169 

known charm against sorcery) at such close quarters that 
it appeared impossible he should not be mortally wounded, 
in a day or two some fresh horror would announce that 
the creature was still uninjured. The very dogs refused 
at length to go after him, and fled howling in the opposite 
direction. The belief became general that it was no 
ordinary wolf of flesh and blood, but the Fiend himself 
in beast shape. Prayers were put up in the churches, 
processions took place, and the Host remained exhibited 
as in the times of plague and public calamity. 

The State offered a reward of 2,000 francs to whoso- 
ever should slay the monster; the syndics of two neigh- 
bouring towns added 500 francs, making a total of lOOZ. 
English money, a large sum in those days. The 
young Countess de Mercoire, an orphan, and chatelaine 
of one of the finest estates of the district, offered her 
hand and fortune in marriage to whoever should rid the 
country of the scourge. This inspired the young Count 
Leonce de Varinas, who, though no sportsman by nature, 
was so deeply in love with the Countess that he 
determined to gain the reward or perish in the attempt. 
Assisted by a small band of well- trained hunters, and 
by two formidable dogs, a bloodhound and a mastiff, 
he began a systematic attack on the wolf. After many 
fruitless attempts they succeeded one day in driving the 
creature into an abandoned quarry of vast size, the sides 
of which were twenty or thirty feet high and quite pre- 
cipitous, and the only entrance a narrow cart track blasted 
out of the rock. The young Count, determined to do or 
die alone, sternly refused to allow his men to accompany 
him into the quarry, and left them posted at the entrance 
with orders only to fire on the beast should it attempt to 
force its way out. Taking only the dogs with him, and 
having carefully seen to the state of his weapons, he went 
bravely to the encounter. The narrow defile was so com- 
pletely hemmed in on every side that, to the vanquished, 
there was no escape nor alternative but death. Here and 



I70 STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 

there, on patches of half-melted snow, were footprints, 
evidently recent, of the huge beast; but the creature re- 
mained invisible, and for nearly ten minutes the Count 
had wandered among the rocks and bushes before the 
dogs began to give sign of the enemy's presence. 

About a hundred yards from where he stood was a 
frozen pool, on the edge of which grew a clump of bul- 
rushes. Among their dry and yellow stalks Leonce sud- 
denly caught a glimpse of a pair of fiery eyes — nothing 
more ; but it was enough to let him know that the longed- 
for moment had at length arrived. Leonce advanced 
cautiously, his gun cocked and ready to fire, and the dogs 
close at his heels, growling with rage and fear. Still the 
wolf did not stir, and Leonce, determining to try other 
tactics, stopped, raised his gun to his shoulder, and aimed 
between the gleaming eyes, nothing more being yet visi- 
ble. Before he could fire the beast dashed from among 
the crackling reeds and sprang straight at him. Leonce, 
nothing daunted, waited till it was within ten paces and 
then fired. With a howl of anguish the wolf fell as if 
dead. Before Leonce had time to utter a shout of joy, it 
was on its feet again. Streaming with blood and terrible 
in its rage it fell on the young man. He attempted to 
defend himself with his bayonet, which, though of tem- 
pered steel, was broken as if it had been glass ; his gun, too, 
was bent, and he himself was hurled to the ground. But 
for his faithful dogs it would soon have been all over with 
him. They flew at the wolf's throat, who quickly made 
an end of the bloodhound; one crunch broke his back, 
while one stroke of the ruthless paw disembowelled him. 
Castor, the mastiff, had, however, the wolf by the throat, 
and a fearful struggle ensued over the prostrate body of 
Leonce. They bit, they tore, they worried, they rolled 
over and over each other, the wolf, in spite of its wounds, 
having always the advantage. Half stunned by the fall, 
suffocated by the weight of the combatants, and blinded 
by the dust and snow they scattered in the fray, Leonce 




THE DEATH OF THE FAMOUS WOLF OF G^VAUDAN 



STORIES ABOUT WOLVES 173 

had just sufficient strength to make one last effort in self- 
defence. Drawing his hunting-knife, he plunged it to the 
hilt in the shaggy mass above him. From a distance he 
seemed to hear shouts of ' Courage, Monsieur ! Courage, 
Castor ! We are coming ! ' then conscious only of an 
overwhelming weight above him, and of iron claws tear- 
ing at his chest, he fainted away. When he came to 
himself he was lying on the ground, surrounded by his 
men. Starting up, he exclaimed, ' The beast ! where is 
the beast? ' 

' Dead, Monsieur ! stone dead ! ' answered the head- 
keeper, showing him the horrid creature, all torn and 
bloody, stretched out on the snow beside the dead blood- 
hound. Castor, a little way off, lay panting and bruised, 
licking his wound. The Count's knife was firmly em- 
bedded in the beast's ribs; it had gone straight to the 
heart and death had been instantaneous. A procession 
was formed to carry the carcase of the wolf in triumph to 
the castle of the Countess. The news had flown in advance, 
and she was waiting on the steps to welcome the con- 
quering hero. It was not long before the Countess and 
the gallant champion were married ; and, as the wolf left 
no family, the country was at peace. Are you not rather 
sorry for the poor wolf ? 



174 



TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 



RiGH and Speireag were two Highland dogs who lived in 
a beautiful valley not far from the west coast of Scotland, 
where high hills slope down to the shores of a blue loch, 
and the people talk a strange language quite different 
from English, or even from French, or German, or Latin, 
which is called Gaelic. 

The name ' Righ,' means a king, and * Speireag ' 
means a sparrow-hawk, but they are words no one, except 
a Highlander, can pronounce properly. However, the 
dogs had a great many friends who could not talk Gaelic, 
and when English-speaking people called them ' Ree ' and 
' Spearah,' they would always answer. 

Righ was a great tawny deerhound, tall and slender, 
very stately, as a king should be, and as gentle as he was 
strong. He had a rough coat and soft brown eyes, set 
rather near together, and very bright and watchful. His 
chief business in life was to watch the faces of his friends, 
and to obey their wishes quickly, to take his long limbs 
away from the drawing-room hearth-rug when the butler 
came in to put on the coals, not to get in the way more 
than so big a dog could help, and not to get too much 
excited when anything in the conversation suggested the 
likelihood of a walk. But his father and all his ancestors 
had led very different lives ; they had been trained to go 
out on the mountains with men who hunted the wild 
deer, and to help them in the chase, for the deerhounds 
run with long bounds and are as fleet as the stag himself. 



TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 175 

Then, when the beautiful creature had been killed, it was 
their duty to guard the body, and to see that carrion 
crows, and eagles, and other wild birds should not molest 
it. But Righ's master was a Bishop, who, though he lived 
quite near to a great deer forest, and often took his dogs 
over the hills to where the deer lived, never killed any- 
thing, but loved to see all his fellow-creatures happy 
among the things they liked best. 

Speireag was a very little dog, of the kind that is called 
a Skye terrier, though the island of Skye is one of the 
few places in which a long-haired terrier is very rare. 
He was quite small, what his Highland friends called ' a 
wee bit doggie ; ' he was very full of life and courage, 
wonderfully plucky for his size, like the fierce little bird 
whose name he bore. Like a good many little people he 
lacked the dignity and repose of his big companion, and, 
though very good-tempered among his friends, was quite 
ready to bite if beaten, and did not take a scolding with 
half the gentleness and humility with which Kigh would 
submit to punishment, perhaps because he needed it 
oftener, for he was so busy and active that he sometimes 
got into scrapes. He was only three years old at the 
time of this story and Righ was seven, so it was perhaps 
natural that Righ should be the wiser of the two. 

They lived in a beautiful house quite near the loch, 
and they had a large garden to play in, and they could 
go in and out of the house and do just as they liked so 
long as they came when they were called and did as they 
were bid, and did not climb on the sofa cushions when 
their feet were muddy. There were very few houses on 
their side the water, and as their friends went about in 
boats as often as other people go out in carriages, the dogs 
were used to the water, and could swim as easily as 
walk, and what is more, knew how to sit still in a boat, 
so that they were allowed to go everywhere with their 
friends because they gave no trouble. 

They had a very happy life, for there was always 



176 TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 

something going on, which is what dogs like, and plenty 
of people to go walks with. Their young masters some- 
times went out with guns, and a dog, a country dog, loves 
a gun better than anything in the world, because he 
knows it means business in which he can help. Some- 
times their mistress took them for a walk, and then they 
knew that they must be on their best behaviour, and not 
wander too far away from the road and have to be 
whistled back, and not fight with the collies at the cottage 
doors, nor chase cats, nor be tiresome in any way ; they 
generally kept close beside her, Righ walking very slowly 
so as to accommodate his big strides to the progress of a 
poor human thing with only two legs, and Speireag trot- 
ting along with tiny little footsteps that seemed to make 
a great fuss and to be in a great hurry about nothing at all. 

There was nothing, however, so delightful as going for 
walks with their own master, the Bishop. For one thing, 
they generally knew he really meant to do something 
worth while. Pottering about with a gun or escorting a 
lady is pleasant enough, but it generally means coming 
home to lunch or tea, and the real joy of a dog's walk is 
to feel that you are getting further and further away from 
home, and that there are miles of heather and pine-wood 
behind you, and yet you are still going on and on, with 
chances of more hares and more squirrels to run after. 
Sometimes the Bishop would stop at a shepherd's hut or 
a lonely cottage under the lee of a hill, and sometimes he 
would sit down to examine a flower he had gathered in 
the wood, but they forgave him very good-temperedly, and 
could always find something to interest them while they 
waited. 

Righ generally sat down beside his master and 
stretched out his great limbs on the heather, for he liked 
to think he was taking care of somebody or something. 
Speireag would lie down for a minute, panting, with his 
little red tongue hanging out and his hairy little paws aU 
wet and muddy ; but he never rested for long, but would 



TWO HIGHLAND BOGS 177 

dart off, pretending to have found a rat or a squirrel, even 
if none really existed. 

It was in December, 1887, the weather was raw and 
cold, there was ice floating about on the loch, and the sea 
gulls used to come up to the garden terrace to be fed. 
The young masters were away, and mistress could only 
take walks along the road, there was nothing to tempt her 
to a mountain scramble or a saunter in the woods. The 
Bishop was very busy, and day after day the dogs would 
start up from the rug at the sound of the opening of his 
study door upstairs, and after a minute's anxious listen- 
ing, with ears cocked and heads erect, they would lie 
down again with a sigh of disappointment, for there was 
no sound of approach to the hat-stand nor of whistled 
invitation for a walk. 

Finally came a sad day when the Bishop went away, 
and dog-life threatened to become monotonous. Then, 
one Saturday, hope revived, for a visitor came to the house, 
an old friend whom they loved and trusted as a good dog 
always loves what is trustworthy. He was a frequent 
visitor, and had, in fact, left the house but three weeks 
before. He was there for a holiday rest, and had leisure 
to bestow on dogs and on long walks, which they always 
shared. 

He was very thoughtful for them, not the sort of man 
who would set off on a whole afternoon's ramble and say, 
when half a mile on his way, 'I wish I'd remembered 
Eigh and vSpeireag ! ' He always remembered them, and 
thought for them; and when he fed them after dinner, 
would always give big bits of biscuit to the big dog, and 
little bits to the little dog, and it is not every one who has 
the sense for that! 

Every day, and often twice a day, he took them out, 
down to the church or the pier, or across the lake and up 
to the Pass of Glencoe, where stern grey hills and hover- 
ing eagles and a deep silent valley still seem to whisper 

12 



178 TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 

together of a sad true story that happened there in just 
such weather as this two hundred years ago. 

These were very happy days for dogs, for they did not 
mind the cold, it was only an excuse for wild scampering 
and racing, and they were very grateful for their friend's 
return. He had been ill, but was able to enjoy his walks 
and though about sixty years of age he had all those 
qualities of youth which endear a man to a dog or a child. 
He was brave and unselfish, and strong to love and to 
endure, and they loved him without knowing why ; with- 
out knowing that he had lost his health from overwork in 
the service of the poor and suffering, and among outcasts 
so low as to be beyond the sympathy of any heart less 
loving than that of a dog or of a very good man. ' Father * 
Mackonochie he was always called, and though he had 
never had wife or children of his own, many a fatherless 
child, and many a lonely grown-up man or woman, felt 
that it was quite easy and natural to call him by a name 
so sacred. 

On the Wednesday after he came, he took Righ and 
Speireag for a glorious walk through the shrubberies and 
out through a gate on to the road at the foot of the hills 
behind, a road that winds on and on for many miles, the 
mountains rising steeply above, the lake being cold and 
grey below; the bank, that slopes away from the road to 
the water, in places covered with gorse and low bushes 
and heather, where an enterprising dog may hunt for rats 
and rabbits, or rush headlong after a pee-wit or moor-fowl 
as it rises with a scream at his approach and flutters off 
high into the air, and then descending to within a few 
feet of him, skims low before him, hopelessly far, yet 
tantalisingly near. 

The way was familiar to them by land or by water. 
Often had they sailed up the loch in the same direction, 
further and further into the heart of the mountains, the 
valley becoming more and more narrow, the shores of 
the lake nearer and nearer to each other, till, had they 



TWO HIGELANB DOGS 179 

gone far enough, they would have reached the Dog's Ferry, 
a spot where the water is so narrow that a dog may easily 
swim across. Righ, strong swimmer that he was, had 
often crossed the loch near his master's house, where the 
ferry boats ply, and needed no Dog's Ferry, but few dogs 
made such powerful strokes in the water as he. 

This day, however, they did not reach the Dog's 
Ferry. The afternoon was closing in, there were streaks 
of gold in the dull grey sky, and it was, the good Father 
thought, time to return. 'Never mind, little man,* he 
said as Speireag looked reproachfully at him with wistful 
brown eyes gleaming through overhanging silvery locks, 
* we'll do it to-morrow, only we must set off earlier.' 

This was good news, and the little dog started home 
gaily, running, as little dogs will, ten miles, at least, to 
every one of the road, and tired enough when home was 
reached at last. Dinner was a welcome feast, and Righ 
and Speireag slept sound till it was time for evening 
service. They always attended chapel night and morn- 
ing, and took their places at the foot of the steps, half- 
way, when both were present, between mistress in her 
seat and master at the place of his sacred office. To- 
night, as usual, they remained perfectly quiet and appa- 
rently indifferent to what was going on till, at the words 
'Lighten our darkness,' bed-time came into immediate 
prospect, and they started into expectant attitudes, await- 
ing the final ' Amen. * 

II 

The next morning, though cold, was fine and fairly bright, 
and the dogs watched eagerly for signs of the promised 
walk. The service in chapel was rather long this morn- 
ing, for, as it was Advent, the ' Benedicite ' was read, and 
though Righ and Speireag noticed only that they had 
time for a longer nap than usual, there were some present 
who will never forget, as the season comes round again 



i8o TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 

each year, the special significance of part of that song of 
praise — 

ye frost and cold — ye ice and snow — O ye nights and days 
ye light and darkness, O ye mountains and hills, 
ye beasts and cattle, ye holy and humble men of heart, 
Bless ye the Lord, praise Hira and magnify Him for ever ! 

But at last the service was over and the dogs trotted out 
into tlie hall, and followed mistress and their friend to the 
front door to see ' what the weather was like.' It was not 
a specially pleasant morning, but it would do for a walk, 
and after waiting a few minutes to have some sand- 
wiches cut, the only detention that could be endured with 
patience, the three set out. After about six miles they 
were on new ground, but on they went, the lake to the 
right of the road getting narrower — on past the Dog's 
Ferry and still on, till the loch had become a river, and 
could be crossed by a bridge. 

Righ and Speireag knew, by a more certain method 
than looking at clocks, that it was lunch time, half past 
one at least, and they never thought of doubting that they 
would cross the bridge and turn homewards along the 
other side the loch, and so get in about tea-time; or, 
for their friend was enterprising, by a longer way also on 
the further side, either of which would involve a delightful 
long walk, but with just that hint of a homeward turn 
which, even to dogs, is acceptable when breakfast has 
become a mere memory. 

They accordingly followed the road on to the bridge, 
but as Father Mackonochie did not overtake them, Righ, 
ever watchful of his friends, turned to look back and saw 
him speaking to a girl, after which, to their surprise, he 
whistled them back, and instead of continuing along the 
road as it turned off to the right, kept straight on, though 
there was now only a rough track leading through a gate 
into the wood beyond. 

When they had advanced a few paces into the wood, he 



TWO HIGHLAND DOGS i8i 

sat down under a tree and took out his packet of sand- 
wiches. Righ and Speireag, sitting close beside him, had 
their share, or perhaps more, for their wistful brown eyes 
hungrily reminded him that they had multiplied the 
distance many times over, and that an unexpected 
luncheon out of doors is a joy in a dog's day, of a kind 
for which a man may well sacrifice a part of his minor 
pleasure. 

Starting off again was a fresh delight. On they went, 
further and further, always climbing higher and getting 
deeper into the wood. To the left, the steep mountain- 
side rose abruptly above them; to the right, below the 
path, the river tore its way between steep banks down, 
down to its home in the lake. Now and then the trees 
parted and made way for a wild mountain torrent leaping 
from rock to rock down the hill side, and rushing across 
their path to join the river below. As they climbed 
further these became more frequent. Their friend could 
stride across, setting an occasional foot upon a stepping- 
stone, and Righ, too, could cross safely enough, long- 
limbed as he was, though now and then he had to swim, 
and the streams were so rapid that it needed all his 
strength to cross the current. Sometimes he helped 
Speireag, for the brave little dog would always ti-y to 
follow his big companion, and sometimes, with an anxious 
bark, would give warning that help was needed, and then 
the kind Father would turn back to pick up the little dog 
and carry him till they were in safety. 

It was very hard work, they were always climbing, 
and in many places the road was polished with a thin 
coating of ice, but the dogs feared nothing and kept on 
bravely. 

The path dwindled to a mere track, and the climbing 
became steeper still. The streams crossed theii* road still 
oftener, and the stones were slippery with ice. The wood 
became thinner, and as they had less shelter from the 
trees, great flakes of half-frozen snow were driven against 



i82 TWO HIGHLAND BOGS 

Sieir faces. There was no thought now of hares or stags, 
Righ and Speireag had no energies left for anything but 
patient following. Poor little Speireag's long coat was 
very wet, and as it dried a little, it became hard and crisp 
with frost. The long hair falling over his eyes was 
matted together and tangled with briers, and his little feet 
were sore and heavy with the mud that had caked in the 
long tassels of silky hair. Even Righ was very weary, 
and he followed soberly now instead of bounding along in 
front, his ears and tail drooped, and each time he crossed 
the ice-cold water he seemed more and more dejected. 

As they left the wood behind them, the snow fell 
thick and blinding, but just at first, as they came out into 
the open, it seemed not quite so dark as under the trees. 
There was nothing to be seen but grey sky and grey moor, 
even the river had been left behind, and only blackened 
patches remained to show where, in summer, the ground 
was spread with a gay carpet of purple heather and sweet 
bog-myrtle. They got deeper at each step into half- 
frozen marsh ; there was no sound or sign of life. The 
dogs felt hungry and weary, and they ached with the cold 
and wet. But they were following a friend, and they 
trusted him wholly. Well they knew that each step was 
taking them farther from home, and farther into the cold 
and darkness. But dog-wisdom never asserts itself, and 
in trustful humility they followed still, and the snow 
came down closer and closer around them, and even the 
grey sky and the grey moor were blotted out — and the 
darkness fell. 

Ill 

It was a disappointing home-coming for the Bishop that 
Thursday evening ! There was no hearty handshake from 
waiting friend, no rejoicing bay of big dog or extravagant 
excitement of little dog to welcome him. The three had 
been out the whole day, he was told, and had not yet 



TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 183 

reappeared. A long walk had been projected, but they 
had been expected home long before this. When dinner- 
time came, and they did not appear, two servants had 
been sent out with lanterns to meet them, as the road, 
though not one to be missed, was dark, and some small 
accident might have happened. The men were not back 
yet, but doubtless the missing party would soon return. 

The night was dark and stormy, and Father Mac- 
konochie had been for some time somewhat invalided, and 
as time passed the Bishop became increasingly anxious. 
At length he ordered a carriage, and with the gardener 
set off towards Kinloch, the head of the loch, thinking 
that accident or weariness might have detained his friend, 
and the carriage might be useful. On the way they met 
the first messengers returning with the news that nothing 
could be heard at Kinloch of the missing three, except 
that they had passed there between one and two o'clock 
in the afternoon. The Bishop and his men sought along 
the road, and inquired for tidings at the very few houses 
within reach, but in vain. The night was dark and little 
could be done, and there was always the hope that on 
their return they might find that some tidings had been 
heard, that the lost friends might have come back by the 
other side of the lake. 

So at last they turned back, reaching home about four 
o'clock in the morning. No news had been heard, and 
all felt anxious and perplexed, but most believed that 
some place of shelter had been reached, as the dogs had 
not come home. They could find their way home from 
anywhere, and there seeined little doubt that, overtaken 
by darkness, all three had found shelter in a shepherd's 
or gamekeeper's hut, perhaps on the other side of the lake, 
as they had almost certainly crossed the bridge, no one 
having met them on the road by which they had started. 

Nevertheless all that was possible must be done in 
case of the worst, and as soon as daylight returned four 
parties of men were despatched in different directions, 



i84 TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 

the Bishop himself choosing that which his friend and 
his dogs were known to have taken the day before. 

A whole day of search over miles and miles of the 
desolate wintry mountains revealed but one fact, that the 
party had eaten their luncheon under a tree in the wood, 
beyond the bridge. The squirrels had left the sandwich 
paper there to tell the tale, and for the first time it seemed 
likely that they had not turned homewards on reaching 
the head of the lake, either by the same road they had 
come, or by that on the other side of the water and 
through Glencoe. 

One by one, the search parties came home with no 
tidings. No trace of the wanderers had been seen, no 
bark of dogs had been heard, no help had been found 
towards the discovery of the sad secret. Weary and 
heartsick as all felt, no time was to be lost, every hour 
made the anxiety greater, and all were ready in a very 
short time to start afresh. 

Again, for the second time, all through the long night 
they wandered over the mountains, through the wood, 
and across the deer-forest beyond. It was an awful 
night. Again and again were their lights blown out ; the 
snow lay deep in all the hollows; where the streams had 
overflowed their banks, the path was a sheet of solid ice ; 
the rocks, polished and slippery, were climbed with 
utmost difficulty. At every opening in the hills an ice- 
cold wind whirled down glen and corrie, sleet and hail- 
stones beat against their faces, the frozen pools in the 
marshes gave way beneath their feet. The night was 
absolutely dark, not a star shone out to give them 
courage. The silence and the sounds were alike awful. 
Sometimes they could hear each other's laboured breath- 
ing as they tottered on the ice or waded through the 
snow, sometimes all other sounds were lost in the shriek- 
ing of the whirlwinds, the crackling of the ice, and the 
roaring of the swollen, angry streams. 



TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 185 

What could have happened? Even if accident had 
occurred, either or both of the dogs would surely have 
returned, and how could even a Highland dog, hungry 
and shelterless, live through such a night as this? 

Morning came again, and returning to the point, near 
the bridge at which the carriage had been left, two of the 
parties met, and drove home for food and dry clothing, 
and to learn what others might have to tell. 

There was no news, and again the same earnest 
friends, with many more kind helpers, set out on their 
almost hopeless journey. The trackless wilds of the 
deer-forest seemed the most likely field for search, and 
all now, m various groups, set off in this direction. 

Hour after hour passed without any gleam of hope, 
and even the Bishop began to feel that everything pos- 
sible had been done, and was turning sadly home- 
wards. A second party, a few hundreds yards behind, 
had almost come to the same resolve, many of the men 
had been without rest since Thursday, and even the dog, 
who with one of the keepers of the deer-forest had 
joined the party, was limping wearily and was exhausted 
by the cold and the rough walking. 

Suddenly he stopped, and, with ears pricked and head 
erect, listened. No one knows better than a Highlander 
the worth of a collie's opinion, and more than one stopped 
to listen too. Not far away, and yet faint, came the bark 
of a dog! Among the men was Sandy, one of the 
Bishop's stablemen, who knew and loved Righ and 
Speireag, and his heart leapt up as he recognised the 
deerhound's bay! 

Away, to their left, the mountains were cleft by a 
narrow glen, the sound came from the bank on the hither 
side. The Bishop and his party had climbed to the 
further side, but a shout reached them, alert and watchful 
as they were. 

They turned back wondering, scarcely daring to hope. 



i86 TWO HIGHLAND BOGS 

The men who had called to them were hastening to a 
given point, the dog, nose to ground, preceding them. 
There is no mistaking the air of a dog on business. The 
collie's intentness was as different from his late dejection 
as was the present haste of the men from the anxious 
watchful plodding of their long search. 

In another moment they came in sight of something 
which made them hold back the dog, and which arrested 
their own footsteps. The Bishop himself must be the 
first to tread on what all felt was holy ground. 

There, on the desolate hillside, lay the body of Father 
Mackonochie, wreathed about with the spotless snow, a 
peaceful expression on his face. One on either side sat 
the dogs, watching still, as they had watched through 
the two long nights of storm and darkness. Even the 
approach of friends did not tempt them to forsake their 
duty. With hungry, weary faces they looked towards the 
group which first came near them, but not till their own 
master knelt down beside all that remained of his old 
friend, did they yield up their trust, and rise, numbed 
and stiff, from the posts they had taken up, who knows 
how long before? 

To say a few words of prayer and thanksgiving was 
the Bishop's first thought, his second to take from his 
pocket the sandwiches he carried, and to give all to Righ 
and Speireag. 

A bier was contrived of sticks from a rough fence 
that marked the boundary of the deer-forest, and the 
body was lifted from the frozen ground on which it lay. 
The return to Kinloch, where the carriage waited, was 
very difficult, and the bearers had to change places very 
often. 

Slow as was their progress, it was as rapid as Righ 
could manage, numbed with cold, and exhausted with 
hunger. The little dog was easily carried, and for once 
little Speireag was content to rest. 

No one will ever know what those faithful dogs felt 



TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 189 

and endured during those two days and nights of storm 
and loneliness. Those who sought them in the darkness 
of that second awful night must have passed very near 
the spot where they lay, sleeping perhaps, or deafened 
by the storm, or even, possibly, listening anxiously with 
beating hearts to the footsteps which came so near, and 
yet turned away, leaving them, faithful to their post, in 
the night. 

They in their degree, like the man whose last sleep 
they guarded, were ' true and faithful servants.' 

It is pleasant to know that Righ and Speireag did not 
suffer permanently for all they had undergone! They 
lived for five years and a half after, and had many and 
many a happy ramble when the sun was bright and the 
woods were green, and squirrels and hares were merry. 
They could not be better cared for than they had always 
been, but, if possible, they were more indulged. If they 
contrived to get a dinner in the kitchen as well as in the 
dining-room, their friends remembered the days when 
they had none, and nobody told tales. If they lay in the 
sun quite across the front door, or took up the whole of 
the rug before the winter fire, everyone felt that there 
were arrears of warmth to be made up to them. Their 
portraits were painted, and in the sculpture which in his 
own church commemorates Father Mackonochie's death, 
the dogs have not been forgotten. 

Righ was the elder of the two, and towards the end 
of his thirteen years showed signs of old age and became 
rheumatic and feeble, but Speireag, though three years 
younger, did not long sur\4ve him. 

They rest now under a cairn in the beautiful garden 
they loved so well ; dark green fir trees shelter their grave, 
a gentle stream goes merrily by on its way to the lake 
below, and in the crannies of the stones of which the 



19© TWO HIGHLAND DOGS 

cairn is built, fox-gloves and primroses and little ferns 
grow fresh and green. 

On the cairn is this inscription : 

In Memory Of 

15th December, 1887. 

RiGH died 19th January, 1893. 

Speireag died 28th August, 1893. 



191 



MONKEY TRICKS AND SALLY AT THE ZOO^ 



Some monkeys are cleverer and more civilised than 
others, and the chiefs have their followers well in hand ; 
every monkey having his own especial duties, which 
he is very careful to fulfil. When the stores of food 
which have been collected are getting low, the elders of 
the tribe — grey beards with long manes — meet together 
and decide where they shall go to lay in fresh supplies. 
This important point being settled, the whole body of 
monkeys, even down to the very little ones, leave the 
woods or mountain ravine where they live, and form into 
regular order. First scouts are posted ; some being sent 
on to places in advance, others being left to guard the 
rear, while the main body, made up of the young and 
helpless monkeys, follow the chiefs, who march solemnly 
in front and carefully survey every precipice or doubtful 
place before they suffer anyone to pass over it. 

It is not at all easy, even for an elderly and experienced 
monkey, to keep order among the host of lively chattering 
creatures for whose safety he is responsible, and indeed it 
would often be an impossible task if it were not for the 
help of the rear-guard. These much-tried animals have 
to make up quarrels which often break out by the way; 
to prevent the greedy ones from stopping to eat every 
scrap of fruit or berry that hangs from the trees as they 
pass, and to scold the mothers who try to linger behind 
in order to dress their children's hair and to make them 
smart for the day. 

1 Naturalist's Note-hook. 



192 MONKEY TRICKS 

Under these conditions, it takes a long time even for 
monkeys to reach their destination, which is generally a 
corn-field, but, once there, scouts are sent out to every 
rock or rising ground, so as to guard against any surprise. 
Then the whole tribe fall to, and after filling their cheek 
pouches with ears of corn, they make up bundles to tuck 
under their arms. After the long march and the hasty 
picking, they begin to get thirsty as well as hungry, and 
the next thing is to find some water. This is very soon 
done, as they seem able to detect it under the sand, how- 
ever deep down it may be, and by dint of taking regular 
turns at digging, it does not take long before they have 
laid bare a well that is large enough for everybody. 

Monkeys love by nature to imitate what they see, and 
have been known to smoke a pipe, and to pretend to read 
a book that they have seen other people reading. But 
sometimes they can do a great deal more than this, and 
show that they can calculate and reason better than many 
men. A large Ab^^ssinian monkey was one day being 
taken round Khartoum by its master, and made to perform 
all sorts of tricks for the amusement of the bystanders. 
Among these was a date-seller, who was squatting on the 
ground beside his fruit. Now the monkey was passionately 
fond of dates, but being very cunning was careful not to 
let this appear, and went on performing his tricks as usual, 
drawing little by little nearer to the date basket as he did 
so. When he thought he was near enough for his purpose, 
he first pretended to die, slowly and naturally, and then, 
after lying for a moment on the sand as stiff as a corpse, 
suddenly bounded up with a scream straight in front of 
the date-seller's face, and stared at him with his wild eyes. 
The man looked back at him spell-bound, quite unaware 
that one of the monkey's hind feet was in the date basket, 
clawing up as much fruit as its long toes could hold. 
By some such trick as this the monkey managed to steal 
enough food daily to keep him fat and comfortable. 

No cleverer monkey ever lived than the ugly old Sally, 



MONKEY TRICKS 193 

who died at the Zoological Gardens of London only a few 
years ago. Her keeper had spent an immense deal of 
time and patience in training her up, and it was astonish- 
ing what she was able to do. ' Sally,' he would say, 
putting a tin cup full of milk into her hands, with a spoon 
hanging from it, ' show us how you used to drink when 
you were in the woods,' upon which Sally stuck all her 
fingers into the milk and sucked them greedily. ' Now,* 
he continued, ' show us how you drink since you became 
a lady,' and then Sally took the spoon and drank her milk 
in dainty little sips. Next he picked up a handful of 
straw from the bottom of the cage, and remarked care- 
lessly, ' Here, just tear those into six, will you, all the 
same length.' Sally took the straws, and in half a minute 
the thing was done. But she had not come to the end of 
her surprises yet. ' You're very fond of pear, I know,* 
said the keeper, producing one out of his pocket and 
cutting it with his knife ; ' well, I'm going to put some on 
my hand, but you're not to touch it until I've cut two 
short pieces and three long ones, and then you may take 
the second long one, but you aren't to touch any of the 
rest.' The man went on cutting his slices without stop- 
ping, and was quite ready to begin upon a sixth, when 
Sally stretched out her hand, and took the fourth lying 
along the row, which she had been told she might have. 
Very likely she might have accomplished even more 
wonderful things than this, but one cold day she caught a 
chill, and died in a few hours of bronchitis. 



194 



HOW THE CAYMAN WAS KILLED^ 

In the year 1782 there was born in the old house of 
Walton, near Pontefract, in Yorkshire, a boy named 
Charles Waterton, who afterwards became very famous 
as a traveller and a naturalist. As soon as he could walk, 
he was always to be found poking about among trees, or 
playing with animals, and both at home and at school he got 
into many a scrape through his love of adventure. He 
was only about ten when some other boys dared him to 
ride on a cow, and of course he was not going to be 
beaten. So up he got while the cow was only thinking 
how good the grass tasted, but the moment she felt ? 
strange weight on her back, she flung her heels straight 
into the air, and off flew Master Waterton over her head. 

Many years after this, Waterton was travelling in 
South America, seeing and doing many curious things. 
For a long time he had set his heart on catching a cay- 
man, a kind of alligator that is found in the rivers 
of Guiana. For this purpose he took some Indians with 
him to the Essequibo, which falls into the sea not far 
from Demerara, and was known to be a famous place for 
caymans. It was no good attempting to go after them 
during the long, bright day. They were safely in hiding, 
and never thought of coming out till the sun was below 
the horizon. 

So Waterton and his Indians waited in patience till 
the moon rose, and everything was still, except that 
now and then a huge fish would leap into the air and 

1 Waterton's Wanderings in S. America. 



HOW THE CAYMAN WAS KILLED 195 

plunge again under water. Suddenly there broke forth 
a fearful noise, unlike the cry of any other creature. As 
one cayman called another answered; and although 
caymans are not very common anywhere, that night you 
would have thought that the world was full of them. 

The three men stopped eating their supper of turtle 
and turned and looked over the river. Waterton could 
see nothing, but the Indian silently pointed to a black log 
that lay in the stream, just over the place where they 
had baited a hook with a large fish, and bound it on a 
board. At the end of the board a rope was fastened, and 
this was also made fast to a tree on the bank. By-and- 
bye the black log began to move, and in the bright 
moonlight he was clearly seen to open his long jaws and 
to take the bait inside them. But the watchers on shore 
pulled the rope too soon, and the cayman dropped the 
bait at once. Then for an hour he lay quite still, thinking 
what he should do next, but feeling cross at having lost 
his supper, he made up his mind to try once more, and 
cautiously took the bait in his mouth. Again the rope 
was pulled, and again the bait was dropped into the river ; 
but in the end the cayman proved more cunning than the 
Indians, for after he had played this trick for three or 
four times he managed to get the fish without the hook, 
and when the sun rose again, Waterton knew that cay- 
man hunting was over for that day. 

For two or three nights they watched and waited, but 
did not ever get so near success as before. Let them 
conceal a hook in the bait ever so cleverly, the cayman 
was sure to be cleverer than they, and when morning 
came, the bait was always gone and the hook always left. 
The Indians, however, had no intention of allowing the 
cayman to beat them in the long run, and one of them 
invented a new hook, which this time was destined to 
better luck. He took four or five pieces of wood about a 
foot long, barbed them at each end, and tied them firmly 
to the end of a rope, thirty yards long. Above the barb 



196 ffOW THE CAYMAN WAS KILLED 

was baited the flesh of an acouri, a creature the size of 
a rabbit. The whole was then fastened to a post driven 
into the sand, and the attention of the cayman aroused 
to what was going on by some sharp blows on an empty 
tortoiseshell, which served as a drum. 

About half-past five the Indian got up and stole out 
to look, and then he called triumphantly to the rest to 
come up at once, for on the hook was a cayman, ten feet 
and a half long. 

But hard as it had been to secure him, it was nothing 
to the difficulty of getting him out alive, and with his scales 
uninjured, especially as the four Indians absolutely refused 
to help, and that left only two white men and a negro, to 
grapple with the huge monster. Of these, too, the negro 
showed himself very timid, and it was not easy to persuade 
him to be of any use. 

The position was certainly puzzling. If the Indians 
refused their help, the cayman could not be taken alive 
at all, and if they gave it, it was only at the price of 
injuring the animal and spoiling its skin. At length a 
compromise occurred to Waterton. He would take the 
mast of the canoe, which was about eight feet long, and 
would thrust it down the cayman's throat, if it showed 
any signs of attacking him. On this condition, the 
Indians agreed to give their aid. 

Matters being thus arranged, Waterton then placed 
his men — about seven in all — at the end of the rope and 
told them to pull till the cayman rose to the surface, 
while he himself knelt down with the pole about four 
yards from the bank, ready for the cayman, should he 
appear, roaring. Then he gave the signal, and slowly 
the men began to pull. But the cayman was not to be 
caught without a struggle. He snorted and plunged 
violently, till the rope was slackened, when he instantly 
dived below. Then the men braced all their strength for 
another effort, and this time out he came and made 
straight for Waterton. 



HOW THE CAYMAN WAS KILLED 199 

The naturalist was so excited by his capture, that he 
lost all sense of the danger of his position. He waited 
till the cayman was within a few feet of him, when he 
flung away his pole, and with a flying leap landed on the 
cayman's back, twisting up the creature's feet and holding 
tightly on to them. The cayman, very naturally, could 
not in the least understand what had happened, but he 
began to plunge and struggle, and to lash out behind 
with his thick scaly tail, while the Indians looked on from 
afar, and shouted in triumph. 

To Waterton the only fear was, lest the rope should 
prove too weak for the strain, in which case he and the 
cayman would promptly disappear into the depths of the 
Essequibo. But happily the rope was strong, and after 
being dragged by the Indians for forty yards along the 
sand, the cayman gave in, and Waterton conti'ived to tie 
his jaws together, and to lash his feet on to his back. 
Then he was put to death, and so ended the chase of the 
cayman. 



200 



THE STORY OF FIDO 

FiDo's master had to go a long journey across the country 
to a certain town, and he was carrying with him a large 
bag of gold to deposit at the bank there. This bag he 
carried on his saddle, for he was riding, as in those days 
there were no trains, and he had to travel as quickly as he 
could. 

Fido scampered cheerfully along at the horse's heels, 
and every now and then the man would call out to her, 
and Fido would wag her tail and bark back an answer. 

The sun was hot and the road dusty, and poor Fido's 
little legs grew more and more tired. At last they came 
to a cool, shady wood, and the master stopped, dis- 
mounted, and tied his horse to a tree, and took his heavy 
saddle-bags from the saddle. 

He laid them down very carefully, and pointing to 
them, said to Fido, ' Watch them.' 

Then he drew his cloak about him, lay down with his 
head on the bags, and soon was fast asleep. 

Little Fido curled herself up close to her master's 
head, with her nose over one end of the bags, and 
went to sleep too. But she did not sleep very soundly, 
for her master had told her to watch, and every few 
moments she would open her eyes and prick up her ears, 
in case anyone were coming. 

Her master was tired and slept soundly and long — 
much longer than he had intended. At last he was 
awakened by Fido's licking his face. The dog saw that 




THE WOUNDING OF FIDO 



THE STORY OF FIDO 203 

the sun was nearly setting, and knew that it was time for 
her master to go on his journey. 

The man patted Fido and then jumped up, much 
troubled to find he had slept so long. He snatched up 
his cloak, threw it over his horse, untied the bridle, sprang 
into the saddle, and calling Fido, started off in great 
haste. But Fido did not seem ready to follow him. She 
ran after the horse and bit at his heels, and then ran back 
again to the woods, all the time barking furiously. This 
she did several times, but her master had no time to heed 
her and galloped away, thinking she would follow him. 

At last the little dog sat down by the roadside, and 
looked sorrowfully after her master, until he had turned 
a bend in the road. When he was no longer in sight she 
sprang up with a wild bark, and ran after him again. 
She overtook him just as he had stopped to water his 
horse at a brook that flowed across the road. She stood 
beside the brook and barked so savagely that her master 
rode back and called her to him ; but instead of coming 
she darted off down the road still barking. 

Her master did not know what to think, and began to 
fear that his dog was going mad. Mad dogs are afraid of 
water, and act in a strange way when they see it. While 
the man was thinking of this, Fido came running back 
again, and dashed at him furiously. She leapt at the legs 
of his horse, and even jumped up and bit the toe of her 
master's boot. Then she ran down the road again, bark- 
ing with all her might. 

Her master was now sure that she was mad, and, 
taking out his pistol he shot her. He rode away quickly, 
for he loved her dearly and could not bear to see her 
die. 

He had not ridden very far when he stopped suddenly. 
He felt under his coat for his saddle-bags. They were 
not there! 

Could he have dropped them, or had he left them 
behind in the wood where he had rested? He felt sure 



204 THE STORY OF FIDO 

they must be in the wood, for he could not remember 
having picked them up or fastening them to his saddle. 

He tui'ned his horse and rode back again as hard as 
he could. 

When he came to the brook he sighed and said, ' Poor 
Fido ! ' but though he looked about he could see nothing 
of her. When he crossed the brook he saw some drops 
of blood on the ground, and all along the road he still saw 
drops of blood. Tears came into his eyes, and he felt 
very sad and guilty, for now he understood why little 
Fido had acted so strangely. She knew that her master 
had left behind his precious bags of gold, and so she 
had tried to tell him in the only way she could. 

All the way to the wood lay the drops of blood. At 
last he reached the wood, and there, all safe, lay the bags 
of gold, and beside them, with her little nose lying over 
one end of them, lay faithful Fido, who, you will be pleased 
to hear, recovered from her wound, and lived to a great age. 



los 



BEASTS BESIEGED^ 

Twenty-five years ago (in the winter of 1870-1871) 
Paris was closely besieged by the Germans, who had 
beaten one French army after another on the frontier, 
and had now advanced into the very heart of the country. 
The cold was frightful, and no wood could be got, and as 
if this was not enough, food began to give out, and the 
people inside the city soon learned to know the tortures 
of hunger. There was no hay or corn for the horses; 
after sheep and oxen they were the first animals to be 
eaten, and then whispers were heard about elephants and 
camels and other beasts in the Jardin des Plantes, which 
is the French name for their Zoological Gardens. 

Now it is quite bad enough to be taken from the 
forests and deserts where you never did anything but just 
what you chose, and to be shut up in a small cage behind 
bars ; but it is still worse not to have enough food to eat, 
and worst of all to be made into food for other people. 
Luckily the animals did not know what was being talked 
about in the world outside, or they would have been more 
uncomfortable than they were already. 

Any visitor to the Jardin des Plantes about Christmas 
time in 1870, and for many weeks later, would have seen 
a strange sight. Some parts of the Gardens were set 
aside for hospitals, and rows of beds occupied every 
sheltered building. Passing through these, the visitor 
found himself in the kingdom of the beasts, who were 
often much more gentle than their gaolers. 
1 Adapted from Theophile Gautier. 



2o6 BEASTS BESIEGED 

After coming from the streets where nothing was the 
same as it had been six months before, and everything 
was topsy-turvy, it was almost soothing to watch the 
animals going on in their usual way, quite regardless of 
what men might be doing outside. There was the white 
bear swinging himself from side to side and rubbing his 
nose against the bars, just as he had done on the day 
that he had first taken up his abode there. There was 
a camel still asking for cakes, and an elephant trumpeting 
with fury because he didn't get any. Nobody had cakes 
for themselves, and it would have been far easier to place 
a gold piece in the twirling proboscis. An elephant who 
is badly fed is not a pretty spectacle. Its skin is so large 
that it seems as if it would take in at least three or four 
extra bodies, and having only one shrunken skeleton to 
cover, it shrivels up into huge wrinkles and looks like 
the earth after a dry summer. On the whole, certain 
kinds of bears come off best, for they can sleep all tho 
winter through, and when they wake up, the world wiU 
seem the same as when they last shut their eyes, and 
unless their friend the white bear tells them in bear 
language all that has happened they will never be any 
the wiser. 

Still it is not all the bears who are lucky enough to 
have the gift of sleep. Some remained broad awake, and 
stood idly about in the corners of their dens, not knowing 
how to get rid of the time that hung so heavily on their 
paws. What was the use for the big brown marten to go 
up to the top of his tree, when there was no one to tickle 
his nose with a piece of bread at the end of a string? 
Why should his brother take the trouble to stand up on 
his hind legs when there was nobody to laugh and clap 
him? Only one very young bear indeed, with bright 
eyes and a yellow skin, went on his own way, regardless 
of spectators, and he was busily engaged in looking at him- 
self in a pail of water and putting on all sorts of little airs 
and graces, from sheer admiration of his own beauty. 



BEASTS BESIEGED 



207 



Perhaps the most to be pitied of all were the lions, 
for they do not know how to play, and could only lie about 
and remember the days when towards sunset they crept 
towards the cool hill, and waited till the antelopes came 
down for their evening drink. And then, ah then! but 
that is only a memory, while stretched out close by is 




THE DREAM OF THE HUNGRY LION 

the poor lioness in the last stage of consumption, and 
looking more like those half- starved fighting lions you 
see on royal coats of arms than a real beast. At such 
times most children would give anything to catch up the 
Zoological Gardens and carry them right away into the 
centre of Africa, and let out the beasts and make them 



2o8 BEASTS BESIEGED 

happy and comfortable once more. But that was not 
the feeling of the little boy who had been taken by his 
mother to see the beasts as a treat for his birthday. At 
each cage they passed he came to a standstill, and 
gazing at the animal with greedy eyes, he said, ' Mother, 
wouldn't 5"0U like to eat that? ' Every time his mother 
answered him, ' No one eats these beasts, my boy ; they 
are brought from countries a long way off, and cost a 
great deal of money.' The child was silent for a moment, 
but at the sight of the zebra, the elk, or the little hyaena, 
his face brightened again, and his voice might be heard 
piping forth its old question, ' Mother, wouldn't you like 
to eat that?' 

It is a comfort to think that the horrid greedy boy 
was disappointed in his hopes. Whatever else he may 
have eaten, the taste of lions and of bears is still strange 
to him, for the siege of Paris came to an end at last, and 
the animals were made happy as of old with their daily 
portions. 



ao9 



MR. GULLY 

He was a herring gull, and one of the largest I have ever 
seen. He was beautiful to look at with his soft grey 
plumage, never a feather of which was out of place. Of 
his character I will say nothing ; that can be best judged 
by reading the following truthful biography of my ' dove 
of the waters.' 

I cannot begin at the beginning. Of his youth, which 
doubtless, in every sense of the word, was a stormy 
one, I know nothing. He had already acquired the 
wisdom, or perhaps in his case slyness is a better word, of 
years by the time that he came to us. 

Gully was found one day in a field near our house 
in a very much exhausted condition. He had probably 
come a long distance, which he must have accomplished 
on foot, as he was unable to fly owing to his wing having 
been pinioned. 

He was very hungry and greedily bolted a small fish 
that we offered him, and screamed for more. "We then 
turned him into the garden, where he soon found a 
sheltered corner by our dining-room window and went to 
sleep standing on one leg. The other one he always kept 
tucked away so that was quite invisible. 

Next morning I came out to look for Gully and feed 
him. He had vanished ! I thought of the pond where I 
kept my goldfish, forty beautiful goldfish. There sure 
enough was Mr. Gully swimming about contentedly, but 
where were the goldfish? Instead of the crystal clear 

14 



2IO MR. GULLY 

pond, was a pool of muddy water ; instead of forty gold- 
fish, all that I could make out, when Mr. Gully had been 
chased awa}^ and the water given time to settle, was one 
miserable little half-dead fish, the only survivor of the 
forty. 

This was the first of Gully's misdeeds. To look at 
Gully, no one could believe him to be capable of hurting 
a fly. He had the most lovely gentle brown eyes you 
ever saw, and seemed more like a benevolent old professor 
than anything else. He generally appeared to be half 
asleep or else sunning himself with a contented smile on 
his thoughtful countenance. 

Gully next took to killing the sparrows ; he was very 
clever at this. When he had finished eating, the sparrows 
were in the habit of appropriating the remnants of the 
feast. This Gully strongly disapproved of, so when he 
had eaten as much as he wanted, he retired behind a 
chair and waited till the sparrows were busy feasting, 
then he would make a rush and seize the nearest offender. 
He sometimes used to kill as many as from two to four 
sparrows a day in' this manner. The pigeons then took 
to coming too near his reach. At first he was afraid of 
them and left them alone; but the day came when a 
young fan-tail was foolish enough to take his airing on 
the terrace, close to Mr. Gully's nose. This was too 
much for Mr. Gully, who pounced upon the unfortunate 
' squeaker ' and slew him. L'appetit vient en mcmgeant, 
and after this Mr. Gully took the greatest delight in 
hunting these unfortunate birds and murdering them. 
No pigeon was too large for him to attack. I only just 
succeeded in saving the cock-pouter, a giant among 
pigeons, from an untimely death, by coming up in time to 
drive Mr. Gully away from his victim. 

After this we decided to shut Mr. Gully up. We 
thought he would make a charming companion for the 
guinea-pigs. At that time I used to keep about fifty 
of various species in a hen-run. So to the guinea-pigs 



MR. GULLY 211 

Gully was banished. At first the arrangement answered 
admirably, Gully behaved as nicely as possible for about 
a month, and we were all congratulating ourselves on 
having found such a good way out of our difficulty, when 
all at once his thirst for blood was roused afresh. One 
day he murdered four guinea-pigs and the next day three 
more of these unfortunate little beasts. 

We then let him join the hens and ducks. He at 
once constituted himself the leader of the latter ; every 
morning he would lead them down to a pond at the 
bottom of the fields, a distance of about a quarter of a 
mile; and every evening he would summon them round 
him and lead them home. At his cry the ducks and 
drakes would come waddling up to him with loud quacks ; 
he used always to march in the most stately manner 
about two yards ahead of them. Of the cocks and hens 
Gully deigned to take no notice. On two occasions he 
made an exception to this rule of conduct. On the first, 
he and a hen had a dispute over the possession of a worm. 
This dispute led to a fight of which Gully was getting 
the best when the combatants were separated. On the 
second occasion Gully was accused of decapitating a hen. 
No one saw him do it, but it looked only too like his 
work. He had a neat clean style. 

One day he led his ducks to the pond as usual, but in 
the evening they returned by themselves. We came to 
the conclusion that the poor old bird must be dead. We 
quite gave him up for lost, and had mourned him for two 
or three weeks, when what should we see one day but 
Mr. Gully leading his ducks as usual to his favourite 
pond, as if he had never been away. 

Where he had spent all the time he was absent remains 
a mystery to this day. After this he remained with us 
some time, during which he performed no new feat of 
valour with the exception of one fight which he had with 
a cat. In this fight he had some feathers pulled out, but 



212 MR. GULLY 

ultimately succeeded in driving her off after giving her 
leg such a bite that she was lame for many a long 
day. 

Since then he has again disappeared. AYill he ever 
return? Mysterious was his coming and mysterious his 
going. 



213 



STORIES FROM PLINY 



HOW DOGS LOVE 

Now there was living at Rome, under the Emperors Vespa- 
sian and Titus (a.d. 69-81) a man called Pliny, who gave 
up his life to the study of animals and plants. He not only 
watched their habits for himself, but he listened eagerly 
to all that travellers would tell him, and sometimes 
happened to believe too much, and wrote in his book 
things that were not true. Still there were a great many 
facts which he had found out for himself, and the stories 
he tells about animals are of interest to every one, partly 
because it seems strange to think that dogs and horses 
and other creatures were just the same then as they are 
now. 

The dogs that Pliny writes about lived in all parts of 
the Roman Empire, and were as faithful and devoted to 
their masters as our dogs are to us. One dog called 
Hyrcanus, belonging to King Lysimachus, one of the 
successors of Alexander the Great, jumped on to the 
funeral pyre on which lay burning the dead body of his 
master. And so did another dog at the burial of Hiero of 
Syracuse. But during the lifetime of Pliny himself, a 
dog's devotion in the heart of Rome had touched even the 
Roman citizens, ashamed though they generally were 
of showing their feelings. It had happened that a plot 
against the life of Nero had been discovered, and the chief 
conspirator, Titus Sabinus by name, was put to death, 
together with some of his servants. One of these men 
had a dog of which he was very fond, and from the 



214 STORIES FROM PLINY 

moment the man was thrown into prison, the dog could 
not be persuaded to move away from the door. At last 
there came a day when the man suffered the cruel death 
common in Rome for such offences, and was thrown down 
a steep flight of stairs, where he broke his neck. A crowd 
of Romans had gathered round the place of execution, in 
order to see the sight, and in the midst of them all the dog 
managed to reach his master's side, and lay there, howl- 
ing piteously. Then one of the crowd, moved with pity, 
threw the dog a piece of meat, but he only took it, and 
laid it across his master's mouth. By-and-bye, the men 
came for the body in order to throw it into the river 
Tiber, and even then the dog followed and swam after it, 
and held it up and tried to bring it to land, till the people 
came out in multitudes from the houses round about, to 
see what it was to be faithful unto death — and beyond it. 



215 



THE STRANGE HISTORY OF CAGNOTTE^ 

In the early part of this century, a little boy of three years 
old, named Theophile Gautier, travelled with his parents 
from Tarbes, in the south of France, to Paris. He was so 
small that he could not speak any proper French, but 
talked like the country people ; and he divided the world 
into those who spoke like him and were his friends, and 
those who did not, and were strangers. 

But though he was only three, and a great baby in 
many ways, he loved his home dearly, and everything 
about it, and it nearly broke his heart to come away. His 
parents tried to comfort him by giving him the most 
beautiful chocolates and little cakes, and when that failed 
they tried what drums and trumpets would do. But 
drums and trumpets succeeded no better than cakes and 
chocolates, for the greater part of poor Theophile's tears 
were shed for the ' dog he had left behind him,' called 
Cagnotte, which his father had given away to a friend, as 
he did not think that any dog who had been accustomed 
to run along the hills and valleys above Tarbes, could 
ever make himself happy in Paris. 

Theophile, however, did not understand this, but cried 
for Cagnotte all day long; and one morning he could 
bear it no longer. His nurse had put out all his tin 
soldiers neatly on the table, with a little German village 
surrounded by stiff green trees just in front of them, 
hoping Theophile might play at a battle or a siege, and 
she had also placed his fiddle (which was painted bright 
^ Minagerie Intime. 



2i6 TEE STRANGE HISTORY OF CAGNOTTE 

scarlet) quite handy, so that he might play the triumphal 
march of the victor. Nothing was of any use. As soon 
as Josephine's back was turned Theophile threw soldiers 
and village and fiddle out of the window, and then pre- 
pared to jump after them, so that he might take the 
shortest way back to Tarbes and Cagnotte. Luckily, just 
as his foot was on the sill, Josephine came back from 
the next room, and saw what he was about. She rushed 
after him and caught him by the jacket, and then took 
him on her knee, and asked him why he was going to do 
anything so naughty and dangerous. AYhen Theophile 
explained that it was Cagnotte whom he wanted and must 
have, and that nobody else mattered at all, Josephine was 
so afraid he would try to run away again, that she told 
him that if he would only have patience and wait a little 
Cagnotte would come to him. 

All day long Theophile gave Josephine no peace. 
Every few minutes he came running to his nurse to know 
if Cagnotte had arrived, and he was only quieted when 
Josephine went out and returned carrying a little dog, 
which in some ways was very like his beloved Cagnotte. 
Theophile was not quite satisfied at first, till he remembered 
that Cagnotte had travelled a long, long way, and it was 
not to be expected that he should look the same dog as 
when he started ; so he put aside his doubts, and knelt 
down to give Cagnotte a great hug of welcome. The new 
Cagnotte, like the old, was a lovely black poodle, and had 
excellent manners, besides being full of fun. He licked 
Theophile on both cheeks, and was altogether so friendly 
that he was ready to eat bread and butter off the same 
plate as his little master. 

The two got on beautifully, and were perfectly happy 
for some time, and then gradually Cagnotte began to lose 
his spirits, and instead of jumping and running about the 
world, he moved slowly, as if he was in pain. He breathed 
shortly and heavily, and refused to eat anything, and even 
Theophile could see he was feeling ill. One day Cagnotte 



THE STRANGE HISTORY OF CAGNOTTE 217 

was lyiug stretched out ou his master's lap, and Theophile 
was softly stroking his skin, when suddenly his hand 
caught in what seemed to be string, or strong thread. 
In great surprise, Josephine w^as at once called, to explain 
the strange matter. She stooped down, and peered closely 
at the dog's skin, then took her scissors and cut the thread. 
Cagnotte stretched himself, gave a shake, and jumped 
down from Theophile's lap, leaving a sort of black sheep- 
skin behind him. 




CAGNOTTE COMES OUT OF HIS SKIN 



Some wicked men had sewn him up in this coat, so 
that they might get more money for him ; and without it 
he was not a poodle at all, but just an ugly little street 
dog, without beauty of any kind. 

After helping to eat Theophile's bread and butter and 
soup for some weeks, Cagnotte began to grow fatter, and 
his outside skin became too tight for him, and he was 



21 8 THE STRANGE HISTORY OF CAGNOTTE 

nearly suffocated. Once delivered from it, he shook his 
ears for joy, and danced a waltz of his own round the 
room, not caring a straw how ugly he might be as long as 
he was comfortable. A very few weeks spent in the 
society of Cagnotte made the memory of Tarbes and its 
mountains grow dim in the mind of Theophile. He learnt 
French, and forgot the way the country people talked, and 
soon he had become, thanks to Cagnotte, such a thorough 
little Parisian, that he would not have understood what 
his old friends said, if one of them had spoken to him. 



219 



STILL WATERS RUN DEEP; OR THE 
DANCING DOG^ 



When Little Theophile became Big Theophile, he was as 
fond as ever of dogs and cats, and he knew more about 
them than anybody else. After the death of a large white 
spaniel called Luther, he filled the vacant place on his 
rug by another of the same breed, to whom he gave the 
name of Zamore. Zamore was a little dog, as black as 
ink, except for two yellow patches over his eyes, and a 
stray patch on his chest. He was not in the least hand- 
some, and no stranger would ever have given him a second 
thought. But when you came to know him, you found 
Zamore was not a common dog at all. He despised all 
women, and absolutely refused to obey them or to follow 
them, and neither Theophile's mother nor his sisters could 
get the smallest sign of friendship from him. If they 
offered him cakes or sugar, he would accept them in a 
dignified manner, but never dreamed of saying ' thank you,' 
still less of wagging his tail on the floor, or giving little 
yaps of delight and gratitude, as well-brought-up dogs 
should do. Even to Theophile's father, whom he liked 
better than anyone else, he was cold and respectful, though 
he followed him everywhere, and never left his master's 
heels when they took a walk. And when they were fishing 
together, Zamore would sit silent on the bank for hours 
together, and only allowed himself one bark when the fish 
was safely hooked. 

Now no one could possibly have guessed that a dog of 
1 Menagerie Intime. 



220 STILL WATERS RUN DEEP 

such very quiet and reserved manners was at heart as 
gay and cheerful as the silliest kitten that ever was born, 
but so he was, and this was how his family found it out. 

One day he was walking as seriously as usual through 
a broad square in the outskkts of Paris, when he was 
surprised at meeting a large grey donkey, with two pan- 
niers on its back, and in the panniers a troop of dogs, 
some dressed as Swiss shepherdesses, some as Turks, 
some in full court costume. The owner of the animals 
stopped the donkey close to where Zamore was standing, 
and bade the dogs jump down. Then he cracked his 
whip; the fife and drum struck up a merry tune, the 
dogs steadied themselves on their hind legs, and the dance 
began. 

Zamore looked on as if he had been turned into stone. 
The sight of these dogs, dressed in bright colours, this one 
with his head covered by a feathered hat, and that one by 
a turban, but all moving about in time to the music, and 
making pirouettes and little bows ; were they really dogs 
he was watching or some new kind of men? Anyway he 
had never seen anything so enchanting or so beautiful, 
and if it was true that they were only dogs — well, he was 
a dog too ! 

With that thought, all that had lain hidden in Zamore's 
soul burst forth, and when the dancers filed gracefully 
before him, he raised himself on his hind legs, and in spite 
of staggering a little, prepared to join the ring, to the 
great amusement of the spectators. 

The dog-owner, however, whose name was Monsieur 
Corri, did not see matters in the same light. He raised 
his whip a second time, and brought it down with a crack 
on the sides of Zamore, who ran out of the ring, and with 
his tail between his legs and an air of deep thought, he 
returned home. 

All that day Zamore was more serious and more gloomy 
than ever. Nothing would tempt him out, hardly even 
his favourite dinner, and it was quite plain that he was 




AND WHAT DO YOU THINK SHE SAW ? ' 



STILL WATERS RUN DEEP 223 

turning over something in his mind. But during the 
night his two young mistresses were awakened by a 
strange noise that seemed to come from an empty room 
next theirs, where Zamore usually slept. They both lay 
awake and listened, and thought it was like a measured 
stamping, and that the mice might be giving a ball. But 
could little mice feet tread so heavily as that? Supposing 
a thief had got in? So the bravest of the two girls got 
up, and stealing to the door softly opened it and looked 
into the room. And what do you think she saw? Why, 
Zamore, on his hind legs, his paws in the air, practising 
carefully the steps that he had been watching that 
morning ! 

This was not, as one might have expected, a mere fancy 
of the moment, which would be quite forgotten the next 
day. Zamore was too serious a dog for that, and by dint 
of hard study he became in time a beautiful dancer. As 
often as the fife and drum were heard in the streets, 
Zamore rushed out of the house, glided softly between the 
spectators, and watched with absorbed attention the 
dancing dogs who were doing their steps : but remember- 
ing the blow he had had from the whip, he took care not 
to join them. He noted their positions, the figures, and 
the way they held their bodies, and in the night he copied 
them, though by day he was just as solemn as ever. Soon 
he was not contented with merely copying what he saw, 
he invented for himself, and it is only just to say that, in 
stateliness of step, few dogs could come up to him. Often 
his dances were witnessed (unknown to himself) by 
Theophile and his sisters, who watched him through the 
crack of the door ; and so earnest was he, that at length, 
worn out by dancing, he would drink up the whole of a 
large basin of water, which stood in the corner of the 
room. 

When Zamore felt himself the equal of the best of 
the dancing dogs, he began to wish that like them he 
might have an audience. 



224 STILL WATERS RUN DEEP 

Now in France the houses are not always built in a 
row as they are in England, but sometimes have a square 
court-yard in front, and in the house where Zamore lived, 
this court was shut in on one side by an iron railing, which 
was wide enough to let dogs of a slim figure squeeze 
through. 

One fine morning there met in this court-yard fifteen 
or twenty dogs, friends of Zamore, to whom the night 
before he had sent letters of invitation. The object of the 
party was to see Zamore make his debut in dancing, and 
the ball-room was to be the court-yard, which Zamore had 
carefully swept with his tail. The dance began, and the 
spectators were so delighted, that they could not wait for 
the end to applaud, as people ought always to do, but 
uttered loud cries of ' Ouah, ouah,' that reminded you of 
the noises you hear at a theatre. Except one old water 
spaniel who was filled with envy at Zamore's talents, and 
declared that no decent dog would ever make an exhibition 
of himself like that, they all vowed that Zamore was the 
king of dancers, and that nothing had ever been seen to 
equal his minuet, jig, and waltz for grace and beauty. 

It was only during his dancing moments that Zamore 
unbent. At all other times he was as gloomy as ever, and 
never cared to stir from the rug unless he saw his old 
master take up his hat and stick for a walk. Of course, 
if he had chosen, he might have joined Monsieur Corn's 
troupe^ of which he would have made the brightest orna- 
ment ; but the love of his master proved greater than his 
love of his art, and he remained unknown, except of his 
family. In the end he fell a victim to his passion for 
dancing, and he died of brain fever, which is supposed to 
have been caused by the fatigue of learning the schottische, 
the fashionable dance of the day. 



225 



THEO AND HIS HORSES; JANE, BETSY, 
AND BLANCHE^ 

After Theophile grew to be a man, he wrote a great 
many books, which are all delightful to read, and every- 
body bought them, and Theophile got rich and thought 
he might give himself a little carriage with two horses to 
draw it. 

And first he fell in love with two dear little Shetland 
ponies who were so shaggy and hairy that they seemed 
all mane and tail, and whose eyes looked so affectionately 
at him, that he felt as if he should like to bring them into 
the drawing-room instead of sending them to the stable. 
They were charming little creatures, not a bit shy, and 
they would come and poke their noses into Theophile's 
pockets in search for sugar, which was always there. 
Indeed their only fault was, that they were so very, very 
small, and that, after all, was not their fault. Still, they 
looked more suited to an English child of eight years old, 
or to Tom Thumb, than to a French gentleman of forty, 
not so thin as he once was, and as they all passed 
through the streets, everybody laughed, and drew pic- 
tures of them, and declared that Theophile could easily 
have carried a pony on each arm, and the carriage on his 
back. 

Now Theophile did not mind being laughed at, but 
still he did not always want to be stared at all through 
the streets, whenever he went out. So he sold his ponies 
and began to look out for something nearer his own 

^ From Menagerie Intime, 
IS 



226 THEO AND HIS HORSES 

size. After a short search he found two of a dapple grey 
colour, stout aud strong, and as like each other as two 
peas, and he called them Jane and Betsy. But although, 
to look at, no one could ever tell one from the other, 
their characters were totally different, as Jane was very 
bold and spirited, and Betsy was terribly lazy. While 
Jane did all the pulling, Betsy was quite contented just 
to run by her side, without troubling herself in the least, 
and, as was only natural, Jane did not think this at all 
fair, and took a great dislike to Betsy, which Betsy 
heartily returned. At last matters became so bad that, 
in their efforts to get at each other, they half kicked the 
stable to pieces, and would even rear themselves upon 
their hind legs in order to bite each other's faces. 
Theophile did all he could to make them friends, but 
nothing was of any use, and at last he was forced to sell 
Betsy. The horse he found to replace her was a shade 
lighter in colour, and therefore not quite so good a match, 
but luckily Jane took to her at once, and lost no time in 
doing the honours of the stable. Every day the affection 
between the two became greater: Jane would lay her 
head on Blanche's shoulder — she had been called Blanche 
because of her fair skin — and when they were turned out 
into the stable-yard, after being rubbed down, they played 
together like two kittens. If one was taken out alone, 
the other became sad aud gloomy, till the well-known 
tread of its friend's hoofs was heard from afar, when it 
would give a joyful neigh, which was instantly answered. 
Never once was it necessary for the coachman to 
complain of any difficulty in harnessing them. They 
walked themselves into their proper places, and behaved 
in all ways as if they were well brought up, and ready to 
be friendly with everybody. They had all kinds of pretty 
little ways, and if they thought there was a chance of 
getting bread or sugar or melon rind, which they both 
loved, they would make themselves as caressing as a 
dog. 




BLANCHE TELLING GHOST STORIES TO JANE IN THE STABLE 



THEO AND HIS HORSES 229 

Nobody who has lived much with animals can doubt 
that they talk together in a language that man is too 
stupid to understand ; or, if anyone had doubted it, they 
would soon have been convinced of the fact by the 
conduct of Jane and Blanche when in harness. When 
Jane first made Blanche's acquaintance, she was afraid 
of nothing, but after they had been together a few months, 
her character gradually changed, and she had sudden 
panics and nervous fits, which puzzled her master greatly. 
The reason of this was that Blanche, who was very timid 
and easily frightened, passed most of the night in telling 
Jane ghost stories, till poor Jane learnt to tremble at 
every sound. Often, when they were driving in the 
lonely alleys of the Bois de Boulogne after dark, 
Blanche would come to a dead stop or shy to one side as 
if a ghost, which no one else could see, stood before her. 
She breathed loudly, trembled all over with fear, and 
broke out into a cold perspiration. No efforts of Jane, 
strong though she was, could drag her along. The only 
way to move her was for the coachman to dismount, and 
to lead her, with his hand over her eyes for a few steps, 
till the vision seemed to have melted into air. In the 
end, these terrors affected Jane just as if Blanche, on 
reaching the stable, had told her some terrible story of 
what she had seen, and even her master had been known 
to confess that when, driving by moonlight down some 
dark road, where the trees cast strange shadows, Blanche 
would suddenly come to a dead halt and begin to tremble, 
he did not half like it himself. 

With this one drawback, never were animals so charm- 
ing to drive. If Theophile held the reins, it was really 
only for the look of the thing, and not in the least 
because it was necessary. The smallest click of the 
tongue was enough to direct them, to quicken them, to 
make them go to the right or to the left, or even to stop 
them. They were so clever that in a very short time 
they had learned all their master's habits, and knew his 



230 THEO AND HIS HORSES 

daily haunts as well as he did himself. They would 
go of their own accord to the newspaper office, to the 
printing office, to the publisher's, to the Bois de Boulogne, 
to certain houses where he dined on certain days in 
the week, so very punctually that it was quite provoking ; 
and if it ever happened that Theophile spent longer than 
usual at any particular place, they never failed to call 
his attention by loud neighs, or by pawing the ground, 
sounds of which he quite well knew the meaning. 

But alas, the time came when a Revolution broke out 
in Paris. People had no time to buy books or to read 
them; they were far too busy in building barricades 
across the streets, or in tearing up the paving stones to 
throw at each other. The newspaper in which Theophile 
wrote, and which paid him enough money to keep his 
horses, did not appear any more, and sad though he was 
at parting, the poor man thought he was lucky to find 
some one to buy horses, carriage, and harness, for a fourth 
part of their worth. Tears stood in his eyes as they 
were led away to their new stable ; but he never forgot 
them, and they never forgot him. Sometimes, as he sat 
writing at his table, he would hear from afar a light 
quick step, and then a sudden stop under the windows. 

And their old master would look up and sigh and say 
to himself, ' Poor Jane, poor Blanche, I hope they are 
happy.' 



231 



MADAME TH^OPHILE AND THE PARROT"^ 

After the death of Cagnotte, whose story you may have 
read, Theophile was so unhappy that he would not have 
another dog, but instead, determined to fill the empty place 
in his heart with cats. One of those that he loved the best 
was a big yellowy-red puss, with a white chest, a pink 
nose, and blue eyes, that went by the name of Madame 
Theophile, because, when he was in the house, it never left 
his side for a single instant. It slept on his bed, dreamed 
while sitting on the arm of Theophile's chair while he was 
writing (for Theophile was by this time almost a grown- 
up man), walked after him when he went into the garden, 
sat by his side while he had his dinner, and sometimes 
took, gently and politely, the food he was conveying to 
his own mouth. 

One day, a friend of Theophile's, who was leaving 
Paris for a few days, brought a parrot, which he begged 
Theophile to take care of while he was away. The bird 
not feeling at home in this strange place, climbed up to 
the top of his cage and looked round him with his funny 
eyes, that reminded you of the nails in a sofa. Now 
Madame Theophile had never seen a parrot, and it was 
plain that this curious creature gave her a shock. She 
sat quite still, staring quietly at the parrot, and trying to 
think if she had ever seen anything like it among the 
gardens and roofs of the houses, where she got all her 
ideas of the world. At last she seemed to make up her 
mind: 

1 Menagerie Intime. 



232 MADAME TH^OPHILE AND THE PARROT 

' Of course, it must be a kiud of green chicken.' 

Having set the question at rest, Madame Theophile 
jumped down from the table where she had been seated 
while she made her observations, and walked quickly to 
the corner of the room, where she laid herself flat down, 
with her head bent and her paws stretched out, like a 
panther watching his prey. 

The parrot followed all her movements with his round 
eyes, and felt that they meant no good to him. He ruffled 
his feathers, pulled at his chain, lifted one of his paws in 
a nervous way, and rubbed his beak up and down his 
food tin. All the while the cat's blue eyes were talking 
in a language the parrot clearly understood, and they 
said : ' Although it is green, that fowl would make a nice 
dinner.' 

But Madame Theophile had not lain still all this 
while. Slowly, without even appearing to move, she had 
drawn closer and closer. Her pink nostrils trembled, her 
eyes were half shut, her claws were pushed out and pulled 
into their sheaths, and little shivers ran down her back. 

Suddenly her back rounded itself like a bent bow, and 
with one bound she leapt on the cage. The parrot knew 
his danger, and was too frightened to move ; then, calling 
up all his courage, he looked his enemy full in the face, 
and, in a low and deep voice he put the question: ' Jacky, 
did you have a good breakfast? ' 

This simple phrase struck terror into the heart of the 
cat, who made a spring backwards. If a cannon had been 
fired close to her ear, or a shopful of glass had been broken, 
she could not have been more alarmed. Never had she 
dreamed of anything like this. 

'And what did you have — some of the king's roast 
beef?' continued the parrot. 

' It is not a chicken, it is a man that is speaking,' thought 
the cat with amazement, and looking at her master, 
who was standing by, she retired under the bed. Madame 
Theophile knew when she was beaten. 



233 



TEE BATTLE OF THE MULLETS AND 
THE DOLPHINS 

Many singular stories may be found in Pliny, but 
the most interesting is how men and dolphins combine 
together on the coast of France, near Narbonne, to catch 
the swarms of mullet that come into those waters at 
certain seasons of the year. 

' In Languedoc, within the province of Narbonne, there 
is a standing pool or dead water called Laterra, wherein 
men and dolphins together used to fish ; for at one certain 
time of the year an infinite number of fishes called mullets, 
taking the vantage of the tide when the water doth ebb, 
at certain narrow weirs and passages with great force 
break forth of the said pool into the sea; and by reason 
of that violence no nets can be set and pitched against 
them strong enough to abide and bear their huge weight 
and the stream of the water together, if so be men were 
not cunning and crafty to wait and espie their time and 
lay for them and to entrap them. In like manner the 
mullets for their part immediately make speed to recover 
the deep, which they do very soon by reason that the 
Channel is near at hand ; and their only haste is for this, 
to escape and pass that narrow place which affordeth 
opportunities to the fishers to stretch out and spread their 
nets. The fishermen being ware thereof and all the people 
besides (for the multitude knowing when fishing time is 
come, run thither, and the rather for to see the pleasant 
sport), cry as loud as ever they can to the dolphins for 
aid, and call " Simo, Simo," to help to make an end of this 



234 BATTLE OF MULLETS AND DOLPHINS 

their game and pastime of fishing. The dolphins soon 
get the ear of their cry and know what they would have, 




HOW THE DOLPHINS HELPED THE FISHERMEN TO CATCH THE MULLETS 



and the better if the north winds blow and carry the 
sound unto them ; for if it be a southern wind it is later 



BATTLE OF MULLETS AND DOLPHINS 235 

ere the voice be heard, because it is against them. How- 
beit, be the wind in what quarter soever, the dolphins 
resort thither flock-meal, sooner than a man would think, 
for to assist them in their fishing. And a wondrous 
pleasant sight it is to behold the squadrons as it were of 
those dolphins, how quickly they take their places and be 
arranged in battle array, even against the very mouth of 
the said pool, where the mullets are to shoot into the sea, 
to see (I say) how from the sea they oppose themselves 
and fight against them and drive the mullets (once 
affrighted and scared) from the deep on the shelves. 
Then come the fishers and beset them with net and toile, 
which they bear up and fortify with strong forks ; how- 
beit, for all that, the mullets are so quick and nimble that 
a number of them whip over, get away, and escape the 
nets. But the dolphins are ready to receive them; who, 
contenting themselves for the present to kill only, make 
foul work and havoc among them, and put off the time of 
preying and feeding upon, until they have ended the battle 
and achieved the victory. And now the skirmish is hot, 
for the dolphins, perceiving also the men at work, are the 
more eager and courageous in fight, taking pleasure to 
be enclosed within the nets, and so most valiantly charging 
upon the mullets ; but for fear lest the same should give 
an occasion unto the enemies and provoke them to retire 
and fly back between the boats, the nets, and the men 
there swimming, they glide by so gently and easily that 
it cannot be seen where they get out. And albeit they 
take great delight in leaping, and have the cast of it, yet 
none essayeth to get forth but where the nets lie under 
them, but no sooner are they out, but presently a man 
shall see brave pastime between them as they scuflfle and 
skirmish as it were under the ramparts. And so the 
conflict being ended and all the fishing sport done, the 
dolphins fall to spoil and eat those which they killed in 
the first shock and encounter. But after this service 
performed, the dolphins retire not presently into the deep 



236 BATTLE OF MULLETS AND DOLPHINS 

again, from whence they were called, but stay until 
to-morrow, as if they knew very well they had so carried 
themselves as that they deserved a better reward than 
one day's refection and victuals ; and therefore contented 
they are not and satisfied unless to their fish they have 
some sops and crumbs of bread given them soaked in 
wine, and had their bellies full.' 



257 



MONKEY STORIES 

Before telling you more stories about monkeys, we must 
tell you some dry facts about them, in order that you may 
understand the stories. There are three different kinds 
of monkeys — apes, baboons, and monkeys proper. The 
difference is principally in their tails, so that when you 
see them at the Zoo (for there are none wild in Europe, 
except at Gibraltar), you will know them by the apes 
having no tails and walking upright ; baboons have short 
tails and go on all fours ; and monkeys have tails some- 
times longer than their whole bodies, by which they can 
swing themselves from tree to tree. Apes and monkeys 
are so ready to imitate everything which men do, that the 
negroes believe that they are a lazy race of men, who will 
not be at the trouble to work. Baboons, on the contrary, 
can be taught almost nothing. 

There are two kinds of apes, called oran otans and 
chimpanzees. They are both very wild and fierce, and 
difficult to catch, but, when caught, become not only tame, 
but very affectionate, and can be taught anything. Nearly 
two hundred years ago, in 1698, one was brought to 
London that had been caught in Angola. On board ship 
he became very fond of the people who took care of him, 
and was very gentle and affectionate, but would have no- 
thing to do with some monkeys who were on the same 
ship. He had had a suit of clothes made for him, pro- 
bably to keep him warm. As the ship got into colder 
regions he took great pleasure in dressing himself in them, 
and anything he could not put on for himself he used to 



238 



MONKEY STORIES 



bring in bis paw to one of the sailors, and seem to ask him 
to dress him. He had a bed to sleep in, and at night used 
to put his head on the pillow and tuck himself in like a 
human being. His story is unfortunately a short one, for 
he died soon after coming to London. He could not long 
survive the change from his native forests to the cage of 
a menagerie. 




TWO ORAN OTANS 



Another, a female, was brought to Holland nearly a 
hundred years later, in 1776, but she, too, pined and died 
after seven months' captivity. She was very gentle and 
affectionate, and became so fond of her keeper that when 
they left her alone, she used to throw herself on the ground 
screaming, and tearing in pieces anything in her reach, 
just like a naughty child. She could behave as well as 



MONKEY STORIES 239 

any lady in the land when she liked. When asked out to 
tea, she used to bring a cup and saucer, put sugar in the 
cup, pour out the tea, and leave it to cool; and at dinner 
her manners were just as good. She used her knife and 
fork, table napkin, and even toothpick, as if she had been 
accustomed to them all her life, which, of course, in her 
native forest was far from being the case. She learnt all 
her nice habits either from watching people at table, or 
from her keeper's orders. She was fond of strawberries, 
which she ate very daintily, on a fork, holding the plate in 
the other hand. She was particularly fond of wine, and 
drank it like a human being, holding the glass in her hand. 
She was better behaved than two other oran otans, who, 
though they could behave as well at table as any lady, and 
could use their knives and forks and glasses, and could 
make the cabin boy (for it was on board ship) understand 
what they wanted, yet, if he did not attend to them at 
once, they used to throw him down, seize him by the arm, 
and bite him. 

A French priest had an oran otan that he had brought 
up from a baby, and who was so fond of his master that 
he used to follow him about like a dog. When the priest 
went to church he used to lock the oran otan up in a room ; 
but one day he got out, and, as sometimes happens with 
dogs, who cannot get reconciled to Sunday, he followed 
his master to church. He managed, without the priest's 
seeing him, to climb on the sounding board above the 
pulpit, where he lay quite still till the sermon began. 
He then crept forward till he could see his master in the 
pulpit below, and imitated every one of his movements, 
till the congregation could not keep from laughing. The 
priest thought they were making fun of him, and was 
naturally very angry. The more angry he became the 
more gestures he used, every one of which the ape over- 
head repeated. At last a friend of the priest stood up in 
the congregation, and pointed out the real culprit. When 
the priest looked up and saw the imitation of himself, he 



240 MONKEY STORIES 

could not keep from laughing either, and the service could 
not go on till the disturber had been taken down and 
locked up again at home. 

Another kind is called the Barbary ape, because they 
are found in such numbers in Barbary that the trees in 
places seem nearly covered with them, though there are 
quantities as well in India and Arabia. They are very 
mischievous and great fighters. In India the natives some- 
times amuse themselves by getting up a fight among them. 
They put down at a little distance from each other baskets 
of rice, with stout sticks by each basket, and then they go 
off and hide themselves among the trees to watch the fun. 
The apes come down from the trees in great numbers, 
and make as though they were going to attack the baskets, 
but lose courage and draw back grinning at each other. 
The females are generally the boldest, and the first to 
seize on the food; but as soon as they put their heads 
down to eat, some of the males set-to to drive them off. 
Others attack them in their turn. They all seize on the 
sticks, and soon a free fight begins, which ends in the 
weakest being driven off into the woods, and the con- 
querors enjoying the spoil. They are not only fierce but 
revengeful, and will punish severely any person who kills 
one of them. Some English people who were driving 
through a country full of these apes in the East Indies, 
wished, out of sheer wantonness, to have one shot. The 
native servants, knowing what the consequences would 
be, were afraid ; but, as their masters insisted, they had 
to obey, and shot a female whose little ones were clinging 
to her neck. She fell dead from the branches, and the 
little ones, falling with her, were killed too. Immediately 
all the other apes, to the number of about sixty, came 
down and attacked the carriage. They would certainly 
have killed the travellers if the servants, of whom there 
was fortunately a number, had not driven the apes off; 
and though the carriage set off as fast as the horses could 
lay legs to the ground, the apes followed for three miles. 



MONKEY STORIES 



241 



Baboons are as ugly, revolting creatures as you could 
wish to see, and very fierce, so they can seldom be tamed 
nor even caught. There are, of course, few stories about 




THE BABOONS WHO STOLE THE POOR MAN S DINNER 



242 MONKEY STORIES 

them. When people try to catch them, they let their 
pursuers come so near that they thiuk they have them, 
and then they bound away ten paces at once, and look 
down defiantly from the tree-top as much as to say, ' Don't 
you wish you may get me?* One baboon had so wearied 
his pursuers by his antics that they pointed a gun at him, 
though with no intention of firing. He had evidently 
seen a gun before, and knew its consequences, and was 
so frightened at the bare idea, that he fell down senseless 
and was easily captured. When he came to himself again 
he struggled so fiercely that they had to tie his paws 
together, and then he bit so that they had to tie his 
jaws up. 

Baboons are great thieves, and come down from the 
mountains in great bodies to plunder gardens. They cram 
as much fruit as they possibly can into their cheek pouches 
to take away and eat afterwards at their leisure. They 
always set a sentinel to give the alarm. When he sees 
anyone coming, he gives a yell that lasts a minute, and 
then the whole troop sets off helter-skelter. 

They will rob anyone they come upon alone in the 
most impudent way. They come softly up behind, snatch 
away anything they can lay their hands on, and then run 
off a little way and sit down. Very often it is the poor 
man's dinner that they devour before his eyes. Some- 
times they will hold it out in their hands and pretend 
they are going to give it back, in such a comic way that I 
would defy you not to laugh, though it were your own 
dinner that had been snatched away and then offered to 
you. 

Monkeys live in the tree-tops of the forests of India 
and South Africa, where they keep up a constant chattering 
and gambolling, all night as well as all day, playing games 
and swinging by their tails from tree to tree. One kind, 
the four-fingered monkey, can pass from one high tree-top 
to another, too far even for a monkey to jump, by making 
themselves into a chain, joined to each other by their tails. 



MONKEY STORIES 243 

They can even cross rivers in this way. There are any 
number of different kinds of monkeys, as you can see any 
day in the monkey house at the Zoo. One kind is well 
named the howling monkey, because they howl in chorus 
every morning two hours before daylight, and again at 
nightfall. The noise they make is so fearful that, if you 
did not know, you would think it was a forest full of fero- 
cious beasts quite near, thirsting for their prey, instead of 
harmless monkeys a mile or two away. There is always 
a leader of the chorus, who sits on a high branch above 
the others. He first howls a solo, and then gives a signal 
for the others to join in ; then they all howl together, till 
he gives another signal to stop. 

The egret monkeys are great thieves. When they set 
to work to rob a field of millet, they put as many stalks 
as they can carry in their mouths, in each paw, and under 
each arm, and then go off home on their hind legs. If 
pursued, and obliged for greater speed to go on all their 
four legs, they drop what they carry in their paws, but 
never let go what they have in their mouths. The Chinese 
monkey is also a great thief, and even cleverer about 
carrying away his booty. They always set a sentinel on 
a high tree ; when he sees anyone coming, he screams 
' Houp, houp, houp ! ' The others then seize as much as 
they can carry in their right arm, and set off on three legs. 
They are called Chinese, not because they come from 
China, but because the way the hair grows on their heads 
is like a Chinese cap. It is long and parts in the middle, 
spreading out all round. 

In many parts of India monkeys are worshipped by 
the natives, and temples are erected for them. But mon- 
keys of one tribe are never allowed to come into any of 
these sanctuaries when another tribe is already in posses- 
sion. A large strong monkey was once seen by some 
travellers to steal into one of these temples ; as soon as 
the inhabitants saw that he did not belong to their tribe, 
they set on him to drive him out. As he was only one 



244 MONKEY STORIES 

against many, though bigger and stronger than the others, 
he saw that he had no chance, and bounded up to the top, 
eleven stories high. As the temple ended in a little round 
dome just big enough for himself, he was master of the 
situation, and every monkey that ^ventured to climb up he 
flung down to the bottom. When this had happened three 
or four times, his enemies thought it best to let him alone, 
and he stayed there in peace till it was dark and he could 
slip away unseen. 



»45 



ECCENTRIC BIRD BUILDERS'^ 



Everybody knows how fond bii'ds are of building their 
nests in church, and if we come to think of it, it is a very 
reasonable and sensible proceeding. Churches are so 
quiet, and have so many dark out-of-the-way corners, 
where no one would dream of poking, certainly not the 
woman whose business it is to keep the church clean. 
So the bu'ds have the satisfaction of feeling that their 
young are kept safe and warm while they are collecting 
food for them, and there is always some open door or 
window to enable the parents to fly in or out. 

But all birds have not the wisdom of the robins, and 
swallows, and sparrows that have selected the church for 
a home, and some of them have chosen very odd places 
indeed wherein to build their nests and lay their eggs. 
Hinges of doors, turning lathes, even the body of a dead 
owl hung to a ring, have all been used as nurseries ; but 
perhaps the oddest spot of all to fix upon for a nest is the 
outside of a railway carriage, especially when we remem- 
ber how often railway stations are the abode of cats, who 
move safely about the big wheels, and even travel by 
train when they think it necessary. 

Yet, in spite of all the drawbacks, railway carriages 
remain a favourite place for nesting birds, and there is a 
curious story of a pair of water-wagtaUs which built a 
snug home underneath a third-class carriage attached to 
a train which ran four times daily between Cosham and 
Havant. The father does not seem to have cared about 
1 From Jones' Glimpses of Animal Life. 



246 ECCENTRIC BIRD BUILDERS 

railway travelling, which, to be sure, must appear a 
wretched way of getting about to anything that has wings ; 
for he never went with the family himself, but spent the 
time of their absence fluttering restlessly about the plat- 
form to which the train would return. He was so plainly 
anxious and unhappy about them, that one would have 
expected that he would have insisted on some quieter 
and safer place the following year when nesting time 
came round again; but the mother apparently felt that 
the situation had some very distinct advantages, for she 
deliberately passed over every other spot that her mate 
pointed out, and went back to her third-class carriage. 

Yet a railway carriage seems safety itself in compa- 
rison with a London street lamp, where a fly-catcher's 
nest was found a few years ago. Composed as it was of 
moss, hair, and dried grass, it is astonishing that it never 
caught fire, but no doubt the great heat of the gas was 
an immense help in hatching the five eggs which the 
birds had laid. 

Those fly-catchers had built in a hollow iron ornament 
on the top of the lamp, but some tomtits are actually 
known to have chosen such a dangerous place as the spot 
close to the burner of a paraffin street lamp. And even 
when the paraffin was exchanged for gas, the birds did 
not seem to mind, and would sit quite calmly on the nest, 
while the lamplighter thrust his long stick past them to 
put out the light. 

Birds reason in a different way from human beings, 
for a letter-box would not commend itself to us as being 
a very good place to bring up a family, with letters and 
packages tumbling on to their heads every instant. A 
pair of Scotch tomtits, however, thought otherwise, and 
they made a comfortable little nest at the back of a 
private letter-box, nailed on to the trunk of a tree in 
Dumfriesshire. The postman soon found out what was 
going on, but he took great pains not to disturb them, for 
he was fond of birds, and was very curious to see what 



ECCENTRIC BIRD BUILDERS 247 

the tomtits would do. What the tomtits did was to go 
peacefully on with their nest, minding their own business, 
and by-and-bye eight little eggs lay in the nest. By this 
time the mother had got so used to the postman, that she 
never even moved when he unlocked the door, only 
giving his hand a friendly peck when he put it in to take 
out the letters, and occasionally accepting some crumbs 
which he held out to it. But no sooner did the little 
birds break through their shells than the parents became 
more difficult to deal with. They did not mind knocks 
from letters for themselves, but they grew furiously angry 
if the young ones ever were touched by so much as a 
corner, and one day, when a letter happened to fall plump 
on top of the nest, they tore it right to pieces. In fact, it 
was in such a condition, that when the postman came as 
usual to make his collection, he was obliged to take the 
letter back to the people who had written it, for no Post 
Office would have sent it off in such a state. 



248 



THE SHIP OF THE DESERT^ 



Of all animals under the sun, perhaps the very ugliest is 
the camel ; but life in the deserts of Africa and Arabia 
could not go on at all without the constant presence of this 
clumsy-looking creature. Some African tribes keep camels 
entirely for the use of their milk and flesh ; and it is 
noticeable that these animals are much shyer and more 
timid than their brothers in Syria and Arabia, who will 
Instantly come trotting up to any fresh camel that appears 
on the scene, or obey the call of any Bedouin, even if he 
is a stranger. 

In general, the camel is merely employed as a beast 
of burden, and from this he gets his name of the ' ship of 
the desert.' Like other ships, he sways from side to side, 
and his awkward motion is apt to make his rider feel very 
sick, till he gets accustomed to this way of travelling. 
Camels are wonderfully strong and enduring animals, 
and can stow up water within them for several days, 
besides having an extraordinary power of smelling any 
water or spring that is far beyond the reach of man's eyes. 
These qualities are naturally very valuable in the burning 
deserts which stretch unbroken for hundreds of miles, 
where everything looks alike, and the sun as he passes 
across the heavens is the traveller's only guide. 

Partly from fear of warlike tribes, which wander 

through the deserts of Arabia and Nubia, and partly from 

the help and protection which a large body can give, the 

one to the other, it is the custom for merchants and 

1 From Burckhardt's Travels in Nubia. 



THE SHIP OF THE DESERT 249 

travellers to band together and travel in great caravans 
of men and camels. They try, if possible, to find some 
well by which they can encamp, and every man fills his 
own skins with water before starting afresh on his journey. 
More quarrels arise about water than people who live in 
countries with plenty of streams and rivers can have any 
idea of. One man will sell his skinful to another at a 
very high price, while if a traveller thinks he will be very 
prudent and lay in a large store, the rest are certain to 
take it from him directly their own supply runs short. 
Foods they can do without on those burning plains, but 
not water. 

Some of these misfortunes befel a traveller of the name 
of Burckhardt, who left Switzerland in the opening years 
of this century, to pass several years in Africa and the 
East. After going through Syria, he began to make his 
way up the Nile, and even penetrated as far as Nubia, 
joining for that purpose a caravan of traders under the 
leadership of a Ababde — an Arab race who from the 
earliest days have been acknowledged to be the best 
guides across the desert. 

Owing to the intense heat which prevails in those 
countries, the marches always take place in the small 
hours of the morning, and midnight seems to have been 
the usual hour for the start. Very commonly the march 
would continue for eleven hours, during which time the 
men were only allowed to drink twice, while the asses, 
who with the camels formed part of the caravan, were 
put on half their allowance. Sometimes a detachment 
was sent on to wells that were known to lie along the 
route, to get everything ready for the rest when they 
came up ; but it often happened that the springs were so 
choked up by drifting sand that no amount of digging 
would free them. Then there was nothing for it but to 
go on again. 

It was in the month of March that Burckhardt and 
his companions had their hardest experience of the dread- 



250 THE SHIP OF THE DESERT 

ful desert thirst. The year had been drier than was 
common even in Nubia, and even in the little oases or 
fertile spots, most of the trees and acacias were withered 
and dead. Hour after hour the travellers toiled on, and 
soon the asses gave out, and their riders were forced to 
walk over the scorching sand. Burckhardt had been a 
little more careful of his stock of water than the other 
members of the caravan, and for some days had cooked 
no food or eaten anything but biscuits, so that he had been 
able to spare a draught every now and then for his own 
ass, and still had enough to last both of them for another 
day. However, it was quite clear that unless water was 
quickly found they must all die together, and a council 
was held as to what was best to be done. Then Ababde 
chief's advice was — and always had been — to send out a 
company of ten or twelve of the strongest camels, to try 
to make their way secretly to the Nile, through the 
ranks of unfriendly Arab tribes encamped all along its 
eastern shore. 

This was agreed upon ; and about four in the afternoon 
the little band set out, loaded with all the skins in the 
caravan. The river was a ride of five or six hours distant ; 
so that many hours of dreadful suspense must pass before 
the watchers left behind could know what was to be their 
fate. Soon after sunset a few stragglers came in, who had 
strayed from the principal band ; but they had not reached 
the river, and could give no news of the rest. As the night 
wore on, several of the traders came to Burckhardt to beg 
for a taste of the water he was believed to have stored up ; 
but he had carefully hidden what remained, and only 
showed them his skins which were empty. Then the 
camp gradually grew silent, and all sat and waited under 
the stars for the verdict of life or death. It was three in 
the morning when shouts were heard, and the camels, 
refreshed by deep draughts of the Nile water, came along 
at their utmost speed, bearing skins full enough for 
many days' journey. Only one man was missing; but 



THE SHIP OF THE DESERT 251 

traders are a cruel race, and these cared nothing about his 
fate, giving themselves up to feasting and song, and joy 
at their deliverance. 

Yet only a year later, the fate that had almost over- 
taken them befel a small body of merchants who set out 
with their camels from Berber to Daraou. The direct 
road, which led past the wells of Nedjeym, was known to 
be haunted at that date by the celebrated robber Naym, 
who waylaid every caravan from Berber ; so the merchants 
hii-ed an Ababde guide to take them by a longer and more 
easterly road, where there was another well at which they 
could water. Unluckily the guide knew nothing of the 
country that lay beyond, and the whole party soon lost 
themselves in the mountains. For five days they wandered 
about, not seeing a creature who could give them help, or 
even direct them to the right path. Then, their water 
being quite exhausted, they turned steadily westwards, 
hoping by this means soon to reach the Nile. But the 
river at this point takes a wide bend, and was, if they had 
known it, further from them than before ; and after two 
days of dreadful agony, fifteen slaves and one merchant 
died. In desperation, another merchant, who was an 
Ababde, and owner of ten camels, had himself lashed firmly 
on to the back of the strongest beast, lest in his weakness 
he should fall off, and then ordered the whole herd to be 
turned loose, thinking that perhaps the instinct of the 
animals would succeed where the knowledge of man had 
failed. But neither the Ababde nor his camels were ever 
seen again. 

The merchants struggled forwards, and eight days after 
leaving the well of Owareyk they arrived in sight of some 
mountains which they knew; but it was too late, and 
camels and merchants sank down helpless where they lay. 
They had just strength to gasp out orders for two of their 
servants to make their way on camels to the mountains 
where water would be found, but long before the mountains 
were reached, one of the men dropped off his camel and, 



252 THE SHIP OF THE DESERT 

unable to speak, waved his hands in farewell to his com- 
rade. The other mechanic all}^ rode on, but his eyes grew 
dim and his head dizzy, and well though he knew the 
road, he suffered his camel to wander from it. After 
straying aimlessly about for some time, he dismounted 
and lay down in the shade of a tree to rest, first tying 
his camel to one of the branches. But a sudden puff 
of wind brought the smell of the water to the camel's 
nostrils, and with a furious bound, he broke the noose 
and galloped violently forward, and in half an hour was 
sucking in deep draughts from a clear spring. The man, 
understanding the meaning of the camel's rush, rose up 
and staggered a few steps after him, but fell to the ground 
from sheer weakness. Just at that moment a wandering 
Bedouin from a neighbouring camp happened to pass 
that way, and seeing that the man still breathed, dashed 
water in his face, and soon revived him. Then, laden 
with skins of water, the two men set out for those left 
behind, and hopeless though their search seemed to be, 
they found they had arrived in time, and were able to 
save them from a frig-htful death. 



»S3 



'HAME, HAME, EAME, WHERE I FA IX 
WAL BE' 

Nothing in nature is more curious or more difficult of 
explanation than the stories recorded of animals conveyed 
to one place, finding their way back to their old home, 
often many hundreds of miles away. Not very long ago, 
a lady at St. Andrews promised to make a present to a 
friend who lived somewhere north of Perth, of a fine cat 
which she wished to part with. When the day arrived, 
the cat was tied safely up in a hamper, put in charge of 
the guard, and sent on its way. It was met at the station 
by its new mistress, who drove it home, and gave it an 
excellent supper and a comfortable bed. This was on 
Friday. All Saturday it poked about, examining every- 
thing as cats will, but apparently quite happy and content 
with its quarters. About seven on Sunday morning, as 
the lady drew up her blind to let in the sunshine, she saw 
the new puss trotting down the avenue. She did not pay 
much attention to the fact till the day went on, and the 
cat, who generally had a good appetite, did not come in 
to its meals. When Monday came, but the puss did not^ 
the lady wrote to her friend at St. Andrews saying she 
feared that the cat had wandered away, but she would 
make inquiries at all the houses round, and still hoped to 
find it. On Tuesday evening loud mews were heard out- 
side the kitchen door of the St. Andrews house, and when 
it was opened, in walked the cat, rather dirty and very 
hungry, but otherwise not at all the worse for wear. Now 
as anybody can see if he looks at the map, it is a long way 



254 'HAME, WHERE I FAIN WAD BE' 

from St. Andrews to Perth, even as the crow flies. There 
are also two big rivers which must be crossed, the Tay 
and the Eden, or if the cat preferred coming by train, at 
least two changes have to be made. So you have to 
consider whether, granting it an instinct of direction^ 
which is remarkable enough in itself, the animal was 
sufficiently strong to swim such large streams ; or whether 
it was so clever that it managed to find out the proper 
trains for it to take, and the places where it must get out. 
Any way, home it came, and was only two days on the 
journey, and there it is still in St. Andrews, for its 
mistress had not the heart to give it away a second time. 

Trains seem to have a special fascination for cats, 
and they are often to be seen about stations. For a long 
while one was regularly to be seen travelling on the 
Metropolitan line, between St. James's Park and Charing 
Cross, and a whole family of half -wild kittens are at this 
moment making a play-ground of the lines and platforms 
at Paddington. One will curl up quite comfortably on the 
line right under the wheel of a carriage that is just going 
to start, and on being disturbed bolts away and hides 
itself in some recess underneath the platform. Occasion- 
ally you see one with part of its tail cut off, but as a rule 
they take wonderfully good care of themselves. The 
porters are very kind to them, and they somehow con- 
trive to get along, for they all look fat and well-looking, 
and quite happy in their strange quarters. 

Of course cats are not the only animals who have what 
is called the ' homing instinct.' Sheep have been known 
to find their way back from Yorkshire to the moors north 
of the Cheviots where they were born and bred, although 
sheep are not clever beasts and they had come a round- 
about journey by train. But there are many such stories 
of dogs, and one of the most curious is told by an English 
oflScer who was in Paris in the year 1815. One day, as 
the officer was walking hastily over the bridge, he was 
annoyed by a muddy poodle dog rubbing up against him, 



'HAME, WHERE I FAIN WAD BE' 255 

and dirtying his beautifully polished boots. Now dirty 
boots were his abhorrence, so he hastily looked round 
for a shoe-black, and seeing one at a little distance off, at 
once went up to him to have his boots re-blacked. A few 
days later the officer was again crossing the bridge, when 
a second time the poodle brushed against him and spoilt 
his boots. Without thinking he made for the nearest 
shoe-black, just as he had done before, and went on his 
way; but when the same thing happened a third time, his 
suspicions were aroused, and he resolved to watch. In a 
few minutes he saw the dog run down to the riverside 
and roll himself in the mud, and then come back to the 
bridge and keep a sharp look-out for the first well-dressed 
man who would be likely to repay his trouble. The officer 
was so delighted wdth the poodle's cleverness, that he 
went at once to the shoe-black, who confessed that the 
dog was his and that he had taught him this trick for the 
good of trade. The officer then proposed to buy the dog, 
and offered the shoe-black such a large sum that he agreed 
to part with his ' bread-winner. 

So the officer, who was returning at once to England, 
carried the dog, by coach and steamer to London, where 
he tied him up for some time, in order that he should 
forget all about his old life, and be ready to make himself 
happy in the new one. When he was set free, however, 
the poodle seemed restless and ill at ease, and after two 
or three days he disappeared entirely. What he did then, 
nobody knows, but a fortnight after he had left the 
London house, he was found, steadily plyiug his old trade, 
on the Pont Henri Quatre. 

A Northumbriam pointer showed a still more wonderful 
instance of the same sagacity. He was the property of 
one Mr. Edw^ard Cook, who after paying a visit to his 
brother, the owner of a large property in Northumberland, 
set sail for America, taking the dog with him. They 
travelled south together as far as Baltimore, where excel- 
lent shooting was to be got ; but after one or tw^o days' 



256 'HAME, WHERE I FAIN WAD BE' 

sport the dog disappeared, and was supposed to have 
lost itself in the woods. Months went by without 
anything being known of the dog, when one night a dog 
was heard howling violently outside the quiet Northum- 
berland house. It was admitted by the owner, Mr. 
Cook, who to his astonishment recognised it as the pointer 
which his brother had taken to America. They took care 
of him till his master came back, and then they tried 
to trace out his journey. But it was of no use. How the 
pointer made its way through the forest, from what port 
it started, and where it landed, remain a mystery to 
this day. 



357 



NESTS FOR DINNER 

However wonderful and beautiful nests may be, very 
few English people would like to eat them ; yet in China 
the nest of a particular variety of swallow is prized as a 
great delicacy. 

These nests are chiefly gathered from Java, Sumatra, 
and other islands of the Malay Archipelago, and are 
carried thence to China, where they fetch a large price. 
Although, within certain limits, they are very plentiful, 
they are very difficult and dangerous to get, for the 
swallows build in the depths of large and deep caverns, 
mostly on the seashore, and the men have to be let 
down from above by ropes, or descend on ladders of 
bamboo. In Java, so many men have lost their lives in 
nest gathering, that in some parts a regular religious 
ceremony is held, twice or three times a year, before the 
expedition is undertaken ; prayers are said, and a bull 
is sacrificed. 

It is not easy to know what the nests are really made 
of, because from the time that Europeans first noticed the 
trade — about two hundred years ago — they have differed 
among themselves in their accounts of the jelly-like 
substance used by the swallows. Some naturalists have 
thought it is the spawn of the fish, which floats thickly 
on the surface of these seas ; others, that it is a kind of 
deposit of dried sea foam gathered by the birds from the 
beach, while others again think that the substance is 

17 



258 



iV^^-'^^.S' FOR DINNER 



formed of sea plants chewed by the birds into a jelly ; 
but, whatever it may be, the Chinese infinitely prefer nests 

to oysters 
or anything 
else, and are 

willing to 
pay highly 
for them. 

The nests, 
which take 
about two 
months to 
build, are al- 
ways found 
to be of two 
sorts : an oblong one just 
fitted to the body of the 
male bird, and a rounder 
one for the mother and 
her eggs. The most 
valuable nests are those 
which are whitest, and 
these generally belong to 
the male; they are very 
thin, and finely worked. 
The birds are small and 
feed chiefly on insects, which are 
abundant on these islands; their 
colour is grey, and they are wonder- 
fully quick in their movements, like 
the humming bu'ds, which are about 
their own size. They are sociable, 
and build in swarms, but they seldom 
lay more than two eggs, which take 
about a fortnight to hatch. 




259 



FIRE-EATING DJIJAM 



Some curious notes about walking unharmed through 
fire, in the November (1894) number of ' Longman's 
Magazine,' under the heading ' At the Sign of the Ship,' 
suggested that a record might be kept of Djijam's 
eccentricities, especially as they differed somewhat from 
those of most other dogs. Anyone accustomed to animals 
knows, and anyone who is not can imagine, that dogs differ 
as much in their behaviour and ways as human beings. 
Djijam was as unlike any dog I have ever had, seen, or 
heard of, as could be. My wife, who is a patient and suc- 
cessful instructor of animals, never managed to teach him 
anything, any attempt to impart usual or unusual accom- 
plishments being met with the most absolute, impenetrable 
idiocy, which no perseverance could conquer or diminish 
in the least degree. That this extreme stupidity was 
really assumed is now pretty clear, though at the time it 
was attributed to natural density. 

It was at Christmas-tide, about two years ago, that 
my wife and I drove over to a village some few miles 
away, to choose one of a litter of four fox-terrier pups, 
which we heard were on sale at a livery stable. We found 
the mother of the lively litter almost overpowered by her 
boisterous progeny, who though nearly three months old 
had not yet found other homes. Without any particular 
objection on the part of the parent we examined the pups, 
and selected and brought away one which seemed to have 
better points than the rest, whom we left to continue their 
gambols in the straw, unconscious probably that any other 



26o FIRE-EATING DJIJAM 

means of warming themselves were possible. The journey 
home was accomplished with the customary puppish en- 
deavors to escape restraint. The same evening, after the 
servants had retired to bed, Master Djijam was placed in 
the kitchen, out of harm's way as it was thought. The 
last thing at night we went to inspect the little animal, 
and could not at first discover his whereabouts. When a 
thing is lost it is customary to hunt about in unlikely 
places, so we looked into the high cinder-box under the 
kitchener, and found the object of our search comfortably 
curled up directly under the red-hot fire. It was fairly 
warm work fishing him out. 

For another reason, not connected with heat, he was 
subsequently christened Djijam, a truly oriental name, 
which some of our friends think may have helped to de- 
velop his original taste for fire. 

When Djijam was about six months old we observed 
that he frequently jumped up to people who were seated 
smoking. This induced a humorous friend one day to 
offer him the lighted end of a cigarette, which Djijam 
promptly seized in his mouth and extinguished. After 
that triumph Djijam usually watched for, and plainly 
demanded the lighted fag ends of cigarettes and cigars, so 
that his might be the satisfaction of finishing them off. 
This led to lighted matches being offered to him, which 
he eagerly took in his mouth, and if wax vestas, swallowed 
as a welcome addition to his ordinary diet. From matches 
to lighted candles was an easy step, and these he rapidly 
extinguished with great gusto as often as they were pre- 
sented to him. He would also attack lighted oil lamps if 
placed on the floor, but they puzzled him, and defied his 
efforts to bite or breathe them out. A garden bonfire 
used to drive him wild with delight, and snatching brands 
from the fire, indoors or out, was a delirious joy. My wife 
discovered him once in the full enjoyment of a large 
lighted log on the dining-room carpet. Red-hot cinders 
he highly relished, though in obtaining them he frequently 



FIRE-EATING DJIJAM 263 

singed off his moustaches. Perhaps the oddest of his 
fiery tricks was performed one day when he wished the 
cook to hand him some dainty morsel on which she 
chanced to be operating. This was against the rules, as 
he well knew, so she declined to accept the hint. Djijam 
was at once provoked to anger and cast round for some 
way of obtaining compensation, at the same time hoping, 
perhaps, to retaliate. He naturally went for the kitchen 
fire, out of which he drew a red-hot cinder and carried it 
in his mouth across the kitchen, through a small lobby 
into the scullery, to his box-bed, into the straw of which 
he must have speedily dropped the live coal, and jumped 
in after it. Soon after, the cook smelt wood burning and 
searched the lower part of the house lest anything were 
afire. Finding nothing wrong, she last of all visited the 
scullery, and found Djijam enjoying the warmth of his 
smouldering straw bed and wooden box. 

Alas, Djijam grew snappish even to his best friends, 
and although it was suggested that he might be found 
an engagement on the Variety stage of the Westminster 
Aquarium, as a fire-eating hound, it was reluctantly de- 
cided that he should go the way of all flesh. I am sure 
if he had been asked, he would in some way have indicated 
that he preferred cremation to any other mode of disposal. 
But it was not to be, yet it was a melancholy satisfaction 
to learn that his end was peaceful though common- 
place. 



264 



THE STORY OF THE BOG OSCAR 



In the north-west of Scotland there is a very pretty loch 
which runs far up into the land. On one side great hills — 
almost mountains — slope down into the water, while on the 
opposite side there is a little village, with the road along 
which the houses straggle, almost part of the loch shore. 
At low tide, banks of beautiful golden seaweed are left at 
the edges of the water, and on this seaweed huge flocks 
of sea-gulls come and feed. 

A few years ago there lived in this village a minister 
who had a collie-dog named Oscar. He lived all alone in 
his little cottage, and as Jean, the woman who looked 
after him, was a very talkative person, by no means con- 
genial to him. Oscar was his constant companion and 
friend. 

He seemed to understand all that was said to him, and 
in his long, lonely walks across the hills, it cheered him 
to have Oscar trotting quietly and contentedly beside him. 
And when he came home from visiting sick people, and 
going to places where he could not take Oscar, he would 
look forward to seeing the soft brown head thrust out of 
the door, peering into the darkness, ready to welcome 
him as soon as he should come in sight. 

One of Oscar's favourite games was to go down to the 
shore when the tide was low, and with his head thrown up 
and his tail straight out, he would run at the flocks of 
gulls feeding on the seaweed, and scatter them in the air, 
making them look like a cloud of large white snow-flakes. 



THE STORY OF OSCAR 267 

In a minute or two the gulls would settle down again to 
their meal, and again Oscar would charge and rout them. 

This little manoeuvre of his would be repeated many 
times, till a long clear whistle was heard from the road 
by the loch. Then the gulls might finish their supper in 
peace, for Oscar's master had called him, and now he was 
walking quietly along by his side, looking as if there were 
no such things in the world as gulls. 

' No, Oscar, lad ! Not to-day ! not to-day ! ' said the 
minister one afternoon, as he put on his hat and coat and 
took his stick from the dog who always fetched it when 
he saw preparations being made for a walk. 

' I can't take you with me ; you must stay in the 
paddock. No run by the loch this afternoon, lad. 'Tis 
too long, and you are not so strong as you were. We 
are growing old together, Oscar.' 

The dog watched his master till he disappeared over 
the little bridge and up the glen, and then he went and 
lay down by the paling which surrounded the bit of field. 
Jean soon went out to a friend's house to have a little 
gossip, and Oscar was left alone. 

He felt rather forlorn. Across the road he heard the 
distant splashing of the waves as they ran angrily up the 
beach of the loch, and the whistling of the wind down the 
glen. 

He watched the grey clouds scudding away overhead, 
and he envied the children he heard playing in the street, 
or racing after the tourist coach on its way up the Pass. 

He began to feel drowsy. 

' The gulls will be feeding on the banks now ! How I 
wish . . .' and his eyes closed, and he dreamt a nice 
dream, that he was dashing along through shallow pools 
of water towards the white chattering flock, when — what 
was this in front of him? White feathers! Two gulls! 
Was he dreaming still ? No the gulls were real ! What 
luck ! He could not go to the gulls, so the gulls had come 
to him. 



268 THE STORY OF OSCAR 

In a moment he was wide awake, and made a rush at 
the two birds who were gazing at him inquiringly with 
their heads on one side. But after two or three rushes, 
' What stupid gulls these are ! ' thought Oscar. ' They 
can scarcely fly.' 

And, indeed, the birds seemed to have great difficulty 
in lifting themselves off the ground, and appeared to grow 
more and more feeble after each of Oscar's onslaughts. 
At last one of them fell. 

' Lazy creature ! you have had too much dinner ! Up 
you get ! ' 

But the gull lay down gasping. 

Oscar made for the other. Why, that was lying down 
too! He went to the first one. It was quite still and 
motionless, and after one or two more gasps its companion 
was the same. 

Oscar felt rather frightened. Was it possible that he 
had killed them? What would his master say? How 
was he to tell him it was quite a mistake ? That he had 
only been in fun? He must put the gulls out of sight. 

He dragged them to one side of the cottage where the 
minister used to try every year to grow a few cherished 
plants, and there in the loose earth he dug a grave for the 
birds. 

Then he went back to his old place, and waited for 
his master's return. 

When the minister came back, for the first time in his 
life, Oscar longed to be able to speak and tell him all 
that had happened. How could he without speech ex- 
plain that the death of the birds was an accident — an 
unfortunate accident? 

He felt that without an explanation it was no use 
unearthing the white forms in the border. 

' Sir, sir! ' cried Jean, putting her head in at the door. 
* Here's Widow Mclnnes come to see you. She's in sore 
trouble.' 

The minister rose and went to the door. 



THE STORY OF OSCAR 



269 



• Stay here, Oscar,' lie said, for Widow Mclnnes was 
not fond of Oscar. 

In a few minutes the minister came back. 
He patted Oscar's soft head. 










K 



OSCAR FELT RATHER FRIGHTENED' 



-J 



^/^. 



* She wanted to accuse thee, Oscar lad, of killing the 
two white pigeons which her son sent her yesterday from 
the south, and which escaped this afternoon from their 
cage. As if you would touch the bairnies, as the poor 
woman calls them ! Eh, lad ? ' 



2 70 THE STORY OF OSCAR 

Oscar wagged his tail gratefully. Then in a sudden 
flash it came upon him that he had killed the pigeons. 
Now he saw the birds were pigeons, not gulls, and, worse 
than killing them, he had, all unknowingly, told his master 
a lie ; and he could not undo it. He whined a little as if 
in pain, and moved slowly out of the room. The minister 
sat on, deep in thought, and then went outside the house 
to see the sunset. Great bands of thick grey cloud 
wrapped the hill-tops in their folds, and lay in long bands 
across the slopes, while here and there in the rifts were 
patches of pale lemon-coloured Bk.y. The loch waters 
heaved sullenly against the shore. The minister looked 
away from the sunset, and his eye fell on a little mound 
in the bed by the cottage. 

'What did I plant there?' he thought, and began 
poking it with his stick. 

' Oscar, Oscar! ' 

Oscar was bounding down the path. He had just 
determined to unbury the pigeons and bring them to his 
master, and, even if he received a beating, his master 
would know he had not meant to deceive. 

But now, hearing the call, and the tone of the minister's 
voice, he knew it was too late. He stopped, and then 
crept slowly towards that tall black figure standing in the 
twilight, with the two white pigeons lying at his feet. 

' Oh, Oscar, Oscar lad, what have you done? ' 

At that moment a boy came running to the gate. 

' Ye'll be the minister that Sandy Johnston is speiring 
after. He says, " Fetch the minister, and bid him come 
quick." * 

The minister gave a few directions to Jean, and in a 
moment or two was ready to go with the boy. It was 
a long row to the head of the loch, and a long walk to 
reach the cottage where Sandy Johnston lay dying. The 
minister stayed with him for two nights, till he seemed 
to need his help no more, and then started off to come 
home. But while he was being rowed along the loch, a 




OH, OSCAR, OSCAR LAD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?' 



TEE STORY OF OSCAR 273 

fierce snowstorm came on. The boat made but little way, 
and they were delayed two or three hours. Cold and 
tired, the minister thought with satisfaction of his warm 
fireside, with Oscar lying down beside his cosy chair. 
Then, for the first time since it had happened, he thought 
of the pigeons, and he half smiled as he recalled Oscar's 
downcast face as he came up the path. 

With quick steps he hurried along the street from the 
landing-place. The snow was being blown about round 
him, and the night was fast closing in. He was quite 
near his own gate now, and he looked up, expecting to 
see the familiar brown head peering out of the door for 
him ; but there was no sign of it. 

He opened the gate and strode in. Still no Oscar to 
welcome him. 

' Jean, Jean ! ' he called. Jean appeared from the 
kitchen, and even in the firelight he could see traces of 
tears on her rough face. 

' Where is Oscar? * 

* Ah, sir, after ye were gone wi' the lad, he wouldna' 
come into the house, and wouldna' touch a morsel o' food. 
He lay quite still in the garden, and last night he died. 
An' it's my belief, sir, he died of a broken heart, because 
ye did na' beat him after killing the pigeons, and he 
couldna' make it up wi' ye.' 

And the minister thought so, too ; and when Jean was 
gone, he sat down by his lonely fireside and buried his 
face in his hands. 



18 



274 



DOLPHINS AT PLAY 



For some reason or other, dolphins, those queer great 
fish that always seem to be at play, have been subjects for 
many stories. Pliny himself has told several, and his old 
translator's words are so strange, that, as far as possible, 
we will tell the tale as he tells it. 

* In the days of Augustus Caesar, the Emperor,' says 
Pliny, ' there was a dolphin entered the gulf or pool 
Lucrinus, which loved wondrous well a certain boy, a 
poor man's son; who using to go every day to school 
from Baianum to Puteoli, was wont also about noon-tide 
to stay at the water side and call unto the dolphin, 
" Simo, Simo," and many times would give him fragments 
of bread, which of purpose he ever brought with him, and 
by this means allured the dolphin to come ordinarily unto 
him at his call. Well, in process of time, at what hour 
ooever of the day this boy lured for him and called 
* Simo," were the dolphin never so close hidden in any 
secret and blind corner, out he would and come abroad, 
yea, and scud amain to this lad, and taking bread and 
other victuals at his hand, would gently offer him his 
back to mount upon, and then down went the sharp- 
pointed prickles of his fins, which he would put up as it 
were within a sheath for fear of hurting the boy. Thus, 
when he once had him on his back, he would carry him 
over the broad arm of the sea as far as Puteoli to school, 
and in like manner convey him back again home; and 
thus he continued for many years together, so long as the 



DOLPHINS AT PLAY 277 

child lived. But when the boy was fallen sick and dead 
yet the dolphin gave not over his haunt, but usually came 
to the wonted place, and missing the lad seemed to be 
heavy and mourn again, until for very grief and sorrow 
he also was found dead upon the shore.' 



278 



THE STABLING OF SEQBINGEN^ 



In a little German village in Suabia, there lived a barber, 
who combined the business of hair-cutting and shaving 
with that of an apothecary ; he also sold good brandy, so 
that he had no lack of customers, not to speak of those 
who merely wished to pass an hour in gossiping. 

Not the least of the attractions, however, was a tame 
starling, named Hansel, who had been taught to speak, 
and had learnt many sayings which he overheard, either 
from his master, the barber, or from the idlers who 
gathered about the shop. His master especially had some 
favourite sayings, or catchwords, such as, ' Truly, I am 
the barber of Segringen ' — for this is the name of the 
village — ' As heaven will,* ' By keeping bad company,' 
and the like; and these were most familiar to the 
starling. 

Everybody for miles round had at least heard of 
Hansel, and many came on purpose to see him and hear 
him talk, for Hansel would often interpose a word into 
the conversation, which came in very aptly. 

But it happened one day, Hansel's wings — which had 
been cut — having grown again, that he thought to himself : 
* I have now learnt so much, I may go out and see the 
world.' And when nobody was looking, whirr ! — away he 
went out of the window. 

Seeing a flock of birds, he joined them, thinking: 
' They know the country better than I.' 

But alas! this knowledge availed them little, for all 
1 Translated from the German of Johann Peter Hebel. 



THE STARLING OF SEGRINGEN 279 

of them, with Hansel, fell into a snare which had been 
laid by a fowler, who soon came to see what was in his 
net. Putting in his hand, he drew out one prisoner after 
another, callously wringing their necks one by one. 

But suddenly, when he was stretching out his mur- 
derous fingers to seize another victim, this one cried out: 
' I am the barber of Segringen ! ' 

The man almost fell backwards with astonishment 
and fright, believing he had to do with a sorcerer at least ; 
but presently recovering himself a little, he remembered 
the starling, and said : ' Eh, Hansel, is it you ! How did 
you come into the net? * 

' By keeping bad company,' replied Hansel. 

' And shall I carry you home again ? ' 

' As heaven will,' replied the starling. 

Then the fowler took him back to the barber, and 
related the manner of his capture, receiving a good reward. 

The barber also reaped a fine harvest, for more people 
came to his shop on purpose to see the clever bird, who 
had saved his life by his ready tongue. 



28o 



GRATEFUL DOGS^ 



A FARMER in Nebraska — one of the Western States of 
North America — possessed two dogs, a big one called 
Fanny, and a small one who was named Jolly. One 
winter day the farmer went for a walk and took with him 
his two pets ; they came to a brook that ran through the 
farm, and was now frozen up. 

Fanny crossed it without much ado, but Jolly, who 
was always afraid of water, distrusted the ice, and refused 
to follow. Fanny paused at the other side, and barked 
loudly to induce her companion to come, but Jolly pre- 
tended not to understand. 

Then Fanny ran back to him, and tried to explain that 
it was quite safe, but in vain. Jolly only looked after his 
master, and whimpered; upon which, Fanny, losing 
patience, seized him by the collar, and dragged him over. 

For this kindness Jolly showed himself grateful some 
time afterwards. 

Fanny, greedy creature, was fond of fresh eggs. When 
she heard a hen cackle she always ran to look for the 
nest, and one day she discovered one under the fruit- 
shed. But, alas ! she could not get the beloved dainty 
because she was too large to go under the shed. Looking 
very pensive and thoughtful, she went away, and soon 
returned with Jolly, bringing him just before the hole. 

1 From 'Das Echo,' June 8, 1895. Letter to the editor, signed 
G. M., Mexico, purporting to be an extract from a letter of his brother 
in Nebraska. I have translated and recast it. 



GRATEFUL DOGS 281 

Jolly, however, was stupid and did not understand; 
Fanny put her head in, and then her paws, without being 
able, with all her efforts, to reach the egg; the smaller 
dog, seeing that there was something in the hole, went 
in to look, but not caring for eggs, came out empty- 
handed. 

Thereupon Fanny looked at him in such a sad and 
imploring way, that her master, who was watching them, 
could scarcely suppress his laughter. 

At last Jolly seemed to understand what was wanted ; 
he went under the shed again, brought out the egg, and 
put it before Fanny, who ate it with great satisfaction, 
and then both dogs trotted off together. 



282 



GAZELLE 

PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A TORTOISE 

Alexandre Dumas, in whose book, as I told you, I read 
the story of Tom the Bear, as well as those of other 
animals, was one day walking past the shop of a large 
fishmonger in Paris. As he glanced through the window 
he saw an Englishman in the shop holding a tortoise, 
which he was turning about in his hands. Dumas felt an 
instant conviction that the Englishman proposed to make 
the tortoise into turtle soup, and he was so touched by 
the air of patient resignation of the supposed victim that 
he entered the shop, and with a sign to the shopwoman 
asked whether she had kept the tortoise for him which he 
had bespoken. 

The shopwoman (who had known Dumas for many 
years) understood with half a word, and gently slipping 
the tortoise out of the Englishman's grasp, she handed it 
to Dumas, saying, ' Pardon, mUord, the tortoise was sold 
to this gentleman this morning.' 

The Englishman seemed surprised, but left the shop 
without remonstrating, and Dumas had nothing left for it 
but to pay for his tortoise and take it home. 

As he carried his purchase up to his rooms on the 
third floor he wondered what could have possessed him 
to buy it, and what on earth he was to do with it now he 
had got it. It was certainly a remarkable tortoise, for 
the moment he put it down on the floor of his bedroom it 
started off for the fireplace at such a pace as to earn for 
itself the name of ' Gazelle.* 



GAZELLE 283 

Once near the fire, Gazelle settled herself in the 
warmest corner she could find, and went to sleep. 

Dumas, who wished to go out again and was afraid of 
his new possession coming to any harm, called his servant 
and said : ' Joseph, whilst I am out you must look after 
this creature.* 

Joseph approached with some curiosity. * Ah ! ' he 
remarked, ' why, it's a tortoise ; that creature could bear 
a carriage on its back.' 

' Yes, yes, no doubt it might, but I beg you won't try 
any experiments with it.' 

' Oh, it wouldn't hurt it,' assured Joseph, who enjoyed 
showing off his information. ' The Lyons diligence might 
drive over it without hurting it. ' 

*Well,' replied his master, *I believe the great sea 
turtle might bear such a weight, but I doubt whether this 
small variety * 

* Oh, thafs of no consequence,' interrupted Joseph; 
* it's as strong as a horse, and small though it is, a cartload 
of stones might pass ' 

' Very good, very good ; never mind that now. Just 
buy the creature a lettuce and some snails.' 
' Snails ! why, is its chest delicate ? ' 
' No, why on earth do you ask such a thing? * 
'Well, my last master used to take an infusion of 

snails for his chest — not that it prevented ' 

Dumas left the room without waiting for the end. 
Before he was halfway downstairs he found that he had 
forgotten his handkerchief, and on returning surprised 
Joseph standing on Gazelle's back, gracefully poised on 
one leg, with the other out-stretched behind him in such 
a way that not an ounce of his eleven-stone weight was 
lost on the poor creature. 

* Idiot ! what are you about? ' 

'There, sir, didn't I say so? ' rejoined Joseph, proudly. 
' There, there, give me a handkerchief and mind you 
don't touch that creature again. ' 



284 



GAZELLE 



' There, sir,' said the irrepressible Joseph, F^^g^^g *^® 
handkerchief. ' But indeed you need not be a* ^^^ afraid; 
a waggon could drive over ' 




DUMAS FINDS JOSEPH STANDING ON GAZELLE'S f^^^ 



GAZELLE 285 

Dumas fled. 

He returned rather late at night, and no sooner took 
a step into his room than he felt something crack under 
his boot. He hastily raised his foot and took a further 
step with the same result : he thought he must be tread- 
ing on eggs. He lowered his candlestick — the carpet was 
covered with snails. 

Joseph had obeyed orders literally. He had bought 
the lettuces and the snails, had placed them all in a basket 
and Gazelle on the top, and then put the basket in the 
middle of his master's bedroom. Ten minutes later the 
warmth of the fire thawed the snails into animation, and 
the entire caravan set forth on a voyage of discovery round 
the room, leaving silvery tracks behind them on carpet and 
furniture. 

As for Gazelle, she was quietly reposing at the bottom 
of the basket, where a few empty shells proved that all 
the fugitives had not been brisk enough to make their 
escape. 

Dumas, feeling no fancy for a possible procession of 
snails over his bed, carefully picked up the stragglers one 
by one, popped them back into the basket, and shut down 
the lid. But in five minutes' time he realised that sleep 
would be out of the question with the noise going on, 
which sounded like a dozen mice in a bag of nuts. He 
decided to move the basket to the kitchen. 

On the way there it occurred to him that if Gazelle 
went on at this rate she would certainly die of indigestion 
before morning. He remembered that the owner of the 
restaurant on the ground floor had a tank in the back 
yard where he often put fish to keep till wanted, and it 
struck him that the tank would be the very place for his 
tortoise. He at once put his idea into execution, got back 
to his room and to bed, and slept soundly till morning. 

Joseph woke him early. 

' Oh, sir, such a joke ! ' he exclaimed, standing at the 
foot of the bed. 



286 GAZELLE 

'What joke?' 

' Why, what your tortoise has been up to ! ' 

' What on earth do you mean ? ' 

* Well, sir, could you believe that it got out of your 
room — goodness knows how — and walked downstairs and 
right into the tank ? ' 

' You owl ! you might have guessed I put it there 
myself.' 

'Did you indeed, sir? Well, you certainly Mve made 
a mess of it then.' 

'How so?' 

' Why the tortoise has eaten up a tench — a superb 
tench weighing three pounds — which the master of the 
restaurant put into the tank only last night. The waiter 
has just been telling me about it.' 

' Go at once and fetch me Gazelle and the scales.' 

During Joseph's absence his master took down a volume 
of Buffon, and consulted that eminent authority on the 
subject of tortoises and turtles. There seemed to be no 
doubt, according to the celebrated naturalist, that these 
creatures did eat fish voraciously when they got the 
chance. 

' Dear, dear,' thought Dumas, ' I fear the owner of 
the tank has Buffon on his side.' 

Just then Joseph returned with the accused in one 
hand and the kitchen scales in the other. 

'You see,' began the irrepressible valet, ' these sort of 
creatures eat a lot. They need it to keep up their strength, 
and fish is particularly nourishing. Only see how strong 
sailors are, and they live so much on fish ' 

His master cut him short. 

' How much did you say that tench weighed ? ' 

' Three pounds. The waiter asks nine francs for it.* 

* And Gazelle ate it all ? ' 

* Every bit except the head, the back-bone, and the 
inside.' 

' Quite correct, Monsieur Buffon had said as much. 



GAZELLE 287 

Very well — but still — three pounds seems a good 
deal.' 

He put Gazelle in the scale. She weighed exactly 
two pounds and a half! The deduction was simple. 
Either Gazelle had been falsely accused or the theft had 
been much smaller than was represented. Indeed the 
waiter readily took this view of the matter, and was quite 
satisfied with five francs as an idemnity. 

The varied adventures of Gazelle had become rather 
a bore, and her owner felt that he must try to find some 
other home for her. She spent the following night in his 
room, but thanks to the absence of snails all went well. 
When Joseph came in next morning, his first act as usual 
was to roll up the hearthrug, and, opening the window, 
to shake it well out in the air. Suddenly he uttered an 
exclamation and flung himself half out of the window. 

' What's the matter, Joseph ? ' asked his master, only 
half awake. 

' Oh, sir — it's your tortoise. It was on the rug, and I 
never saw it — and ' 

'Well! and ?' 

' And I declare, before I knew what I was about, I 
shook it out of the window.' 

' Imbecile ! ' shouted Dumas, springing out of bed. 

' Ah ! ' cried Joseph with a sigh of relief. ' See, she's 
eating a cabbage ! ' 

And so she was. Her fall had been broken by a 
rubbish heap, and after a few seconds in which to recover 
her equanimity, she had ventured to thrust her head out, 
when finding a piece of cabbage near, she at once began 
her breakfast. 

'Didn't I say so, sir?' cried Joseph, delighted. 
' Nothing hurts those creatures. There now, whilst she's 
eating that cabbage a coach-and-four might drive over 
her ' 

'Never mind, never mind; just run down and fetch 
her up quick.' 



288 



GAZELLE 



Joseph obeyed, and as soon as his master was dressed 
he called a cab, and taking Gazelle with him, drove off to 
No. 109 in the Faubourg St. -Denis. Here he climbed to 
xhe fifth floor and walked straight into the studio of 
his friend, who was busy painting a delightful little 
picture of performing dogs. He was surrounded by a 
bear, who was playing with a log as he lay on his back, 




DUMAS BRINGS GAZELLE TO NO. 109 FAUBOURG ST.-DE^ns 

a monkey, busy pulling a paint brush to pieces, and a frog, 
who was half-way up a little ladder in a glass jar. You 
will, I dare say, have guessed already that the painter's 
name was Decamps, the bear's Tom, the monkey's 
Jacko I., and the frog's Mademoiselle Camargo, and you 
will not wonder that Dumas felt that he could not better 
provide for Gazelle than by leaving her as an addition to 
the menagerie in his friend's studio. ^ 



1 See p. 375. 



a89 



COCKATOO STORIES^ 

About thirty years ago a gentleman, who was fond of 
birds and beasts, took into his head to try if parrots could 
not be persuaded to make themselves at home among the 
trees in his garden. For a little while everything seemed 
going beautifully, and the experimenter was full of hope. 
The parrots built their nests in the woods, and in course 
of time some young ones appeared, and gradually grew 
up to their full size. Then, unluckily, they became tired 
of the grounds which they knew by heart, and set off to 
see the world. The young parrots were strong upon the 
wing, and their beautiful bright bodies would be seen 
flashing in the sun, as much as fifteen miles away, and, 
then, of course, some boy or gamekeeper with a gun in 
his hand was certain to see them, and covet them for the 
kitchen mantel-shelf or a private collection. 

The cockatoos however did not always care to choose 
trees for their building places. One little pair, whose 
grandparents had whisked about in the heat of a mid- 
summer day in Australia, found the climate of England 
cold and foggy, and looked about for a warm cover for their 
new nest. They had many conversations on the subject, 
and perhaps one of these may have been overheard by a 
jackdaw, who put into their minds a brilliant idea, for the 
very next morning the cockatoos were seen carrying their 
materials to one of the chimneys, and trying to fasten 
them together half-way up. But cockatoos are not as 
clever as jackdaws about this kind of thing, and before 
1 Naturalist's Note-Book. Reeves & Turner: 1868. 



290 COCKATOO STORIES 

the nest had grown to be more than a shapeless mass, 
down it came, and such a quantity of soot with it, that the 
poor cockatoos were quite buried, and lay for a day and 
night nearly smothered in soot, till they happened to be 
found by a housemaid who had entered the room. But 
in spite of this mishap they were not disheartened, and 
as soon as their eyes and noses had recovered from their 
soot bath, they began again to search for a more suitable 
spot. To the great delight of their master, they fixed 
upon a box which he had nailed for this very purpose 
under one of the gables, and this time they managed to 
build a nest that was as good as any nest in the garden. 
Still, they had no luck, for though the female laid two 
eggs, and sat upon them perseveringly, never allowing 
them to get cold for a single instant, it was all of no use, 
for the eggs turned out to be both bad ! 

Some cousins of theirs, a beautiful white cockatoo and 
his lovely rose-coloured wife, were more prosperous in 
their arrangements. They scooped out a most comfortable 
nest with their claws and bills in the rotten branch of an 
acacia tree, and there they brought up two young families, 
all of them white as snow, with flame-coloured crests. 
The eldest son, unhappily for himself, got weary of his 
brothers and sisters, and the little wood on the outskirts 
of the garden, where he was born, and one winter day 
took a flight towards the town. His parents never 
quiet knew what occurred, but the poor young cockatoo 
came back severely wounded, to the great fury of all 
his family, who behaved very unkindly to him. It is 
a curious fact that no animals and very few birds can 
bear the sight of illness, and these cockatoos were no 
better than the rest. They did not absolutely ill-treat 
him, but they refused to let him enter their nest, and in- 
sisted that he should live by himself in a distant bush. 
At last his master took pity on him, and brought him into 
the garden, but this so enraged the cockatoos who were 
already in possession, that they secretly murdered him. 



COCKATOO STORIES 291 

However it is only just to the race of cockatoos to observe 
that they are not always so bad as this, for during the 
very same season an unlucky young bu-d, whose wing 
and leg were broken by an accident, was adopted by an 
elderly cockatoo who did not care for what her neighbours 
said, and treated him as her own son. The following year, 
when nesting time came round, the white cockatoos went 
back to their acacia branch, but were very much disgusted 
to find a pair of grey parrots there before them, and a 
little pair of bald round heads peeping over the edge. 
These little parrots grew up with such very bad tempers 
that no one would have anything to do with them, and as 
for their own relations, they looked upon them with the 
contempt that a cat often shows to a man. To be sure 
these relations were considered to be rather odd them- 
selves, for they did not care to be troubled with a family 
of their own, so had taken under their protection two little 
kittens, who had been born in one of the boxes originally 
set apart for the parrots. The two birds could not endure 
to see the old cat looking after her little ones, and when- 
ever she went out for a walk or to get her food, one of the 
parrots always took her place in the box. It would have 
been nice to know how long this went on, and if the 
kittens adopted any parrot-like ways. Luckily, there was 
one peculiarity of the parrots which it was beyond their 
power to imitate, and that was the horrible voice which 
renders the society of a parrot, and still more of a cock- 
atoo, unendurable to most people. 



292 



THE OTTER WHO WAS REARED BY A CAT '^ 



There is still living in the kingdom of Galloway a won- 
derful cat who is so completely above all the instincts 
and prejudices of her race, that she can remain on friendly 
terms with young rabbits, and wile away a spare hour 
by having a game with a mouse. A real game, where 
the fun is not all on one side, but which is enjoyed by 
the mouse as much as by the cat. 

Hardly less strange, from the opposite point of view, 
is the friendship that existed between two cats and an 
otter, which had been taken from its mother when only a 
few hours old, to be brought up by hand by a gentleman. 
This was not a very easy thing to manage. It was too 
young to suck milk out of a spoon, which was the first 
thing thought of, but a quill passed through a cork and 
stuck into a baby's bottle proved a success, and through 
this the little otter had its milk five times every day, until 
he was more than five weeks old. Then he was intro- 
duced to a cat who had lately lost a kitten, and though 
not naturally very good-tempered, the puss took to him 
directly, evidently thinking it was her own kitten grown 
a little bigger. In general this cat, which was partly 
Persian, and, as I have said, very cross, did not trouble 
herself much about her young ones, which had to take 
care of themselves as well as they could ; but she could 
not make enough of the little otter, and when he was as 
big as herself she would walk with him every day to the 
pond in the yard, where he had his bath, watching his 
1 Naturalist'' s Note-Book. 



THE OTTER WHO WAS REARED BY A CAT 293 

splashings and divings with great anxiety, and never 
happy till he got out safe. 

But, like human children, the baby otter would have 
been very dull without someone to play with, and as 
there were no little otters handy, he made friends with a 
young cat called Tom. 

All through the long winter, when the pond was 
frozen, and diving and swimming were no longer possible, 
he and Tom used to spend happy mornings playing hide 
and seek among the furniture in the dining-room, till 
Tom began to feel that the otter was getting rather rough, 
and that his teeth were very sharp, and that it would be 
a good thing to get out of his reach, on the top of a high 
cupboard or chimney piece. 

But at last the snow melted, and the ice became water 
again, and the first day the sun shone, the otter and the 
old cat went out for a walk in the yard. After the little 
fellow had had his dive, which felt delicious after all the 
weeks that he had done without it, he wandered care- 
lessly into a shed where he had never been before, and to 
his astonishment he suddenly heard a flutter of wings, 
and became conscious of a sharp pain in his neck. This 
was produced by the beak of a falcon, who always lived 
in the shed, and seeing the strange creature enter his 
door, at once made up his mind that it was its duty to 
kill it. The cat and the gentleman who happened to 
come in at the same moment rushed forward and beat 
off the bird, and then, blinded by excitement, like a great 
many other people, and not knowing friends from foes, 
the cat rushed at her master. In one moment she had 
severely bitten the calf of his leg, given his thigh a fearful 
scratch, and picked up the otter and carried him outside. 
Then, not daring to trust him out of her sight, she 
marched him sternly up the hill, keeping him all the 
while between her legs, so that no danger should come 
near him. 

As the otter grew bigger the cats became rather afraid 



294 THE OTTER WHO WAS REARED BY A CAT 

of his claws and teeth, which grew bigger too, and inflicted 
bites and scratches without his knowing it. But if the 
cats tired of him, he never tired of the cats, and was 
always dull and unhappy when they were out of his way. 
Sometimes, when his spirits were unusually good (and 
his teeth unusually sharp), the poor playfellows were 
obliged to seek refuge in the bedrooms of the house, or 
even upon the roof, but the little otter had not lived so 
long with cats for nothing, and could climb nearly as well 
as they. When he had had enough of teasing, he told 
them so (for, of course, he knew the cat language), and 
they would come down, and he would stretch himself 
out lazily in front of the fire, with his arms round Tom's 
neck. 

It would be nice to know what happened to him 
when he really grew up, whether the joys of living in 
a stream made him forget his old friends at the farm, or 
whether he would leave the chase of the finest trout at 
the sound of a mew or a whistle. But we are not told 
anything about it, so everybody can settle it as they like. 



295 



STORIES ABO UT LIONS 



The lion in its wild state" is a very different animal from 
the lion of menageries and wild-beast shows. The latter 
has probably been born in captivity, reared by hand, and 
kept a prisoner in a narrow cage all its life, deprived not 
only of liberty and exercise, but of its proper food. The 
result is a weak, thin, miserable creature, with an unhappy 
furtive expression, and a meagre mane, more like a poodle 
than the king of beasts in a savage state. 

The lion of South Africa differs in many points from 
that of Algeria, of whom we are going to speak. In 
Algeria there are three kinds of lions — the black, the 
tawny, and the grey. The black lion, more rarely met 
with than the two others, is rather smaller, but stronger 
in build. He is so called from the colour of his mane, 
which falls to his shoulder in a heavy black mass. The 
rest of his coat is the colour of a bay horse. Instead of 
wandering like the other two kinds, he makes himself a 
comfortable dwelling, and remains there probably all his 
life, which may last thirty or forty years, unless he falls a 
victim to the hunter. He rarely goes down to the plains 
in search of prey, but lies in ambush in the evening and 
attacks the cattle on their way down from the mountain, 
killing four or five to drink their blood. In the long 
summer twilights he waits on the edge of a forest-path for 
some belated traveller, who seldom escapes to tell the tale. 

The tawny and grey lion differ from each other only 
in the colour of their mane ; all three have the same habits 
and characteristics, except those peculiar to the black lion 



296 STORIES ABOUT LIONS 

just described. They all turn night into day, and go out 
at dusk to forage for prey, returning to their lair at dawn 
to sleep and digest in peace and quiet. Should a lion, for 
any reason, shift his camp during the day, it is most 
unlikely that he will attack, unprovoked, any creature, 
whether human or otherwise, whom he may chance to 
meet ; for during the day he is ' full inside,' and the lion 
kills not for the sake of killing, but to satisfy his hunger. 
The lion is a devoted husband ; when a couple go out on 
their nightly prowl, it is always the lioness who leads the 
way ; when she stops he stops too, and when they arrive at 
the fold where they hope to procure their supper, she lies 
down, while he leaps into the midst of the enclosure, and 
brings back to her the pick of the flock. He watches her 
eat with great anxiety lest anything should disturb her, 
and never begins his own meal till she has finished hers. 
As a father he is less devoted ; the old lion being of a 
serious disposition, the cubs weary him with their games, 
and while the family is young the father lives by himself, 
but at a short distance, so as to be at hand in case of 
danger. When the cubs are about three months old, and 
have finished teething (a process which often proves fatal 
to little lionesses), their mother begins to accustom them 
to eat meat by bringing them mutton to eat, which she 
carefully skins, and chews up small before giving to them. 
Between three and four months old they begin to follow 
their mother at night to the edge of the forest, where their 
father brings them their supper. At six months the whole 
family change their abode, choosing for the purpose a very 
dark night. Between eight months and a year old they 
begin to attack the flocks of sheep and goats that feed by 
day in the neighbourhood of their lair, and sometimes 
venture to attack oxen, but being still young and awkward, 
they often wound ten for one killed, and the father lion is 
obliged to interfere. At the age of two years they can slay 
with one blow an ox, horse, or camel, and can leap the 
hedges two yards high that surround the folds for protec- 



STORIES ABOUT LIONS 



297 



tion. This period in the history of the lion is the most 
disastrous to the shepherds and their flocks, for then the 




lion goes about killing for the sake of learning to kill. At 
three years they leave their parents and set up families of 




THE LION CAUGHT IN THE PIT 



their own, but it is only at the age of eight that they attain 
their full size and strength, and, in the case of the male, 
his full mane. 



298 STORIES ABOUT LIONS 

The question is sometimes asked, why does the lion 
roar? The answer is, for the same reason that the bird 
sings. When a lion and lioness go out together at night, 
the lioness begins the duet by roaring when she leaves her 
den, then the lion roars in answer, and they roar in turn 
every quarter of an hour, till they have found their supper ; 
while they are eating they are silent, and begin roaring 
as soon as satisfied, and roar till morning. In summer 
they roar less and sometimes not at all. The Arabs, who 
have good reason to know and dread this fearsome sound, 
have the same word for it as for the thunder. The herds 
being constantly exposed to the ravages of the lion, the 
natives are obliged to take measures to protect them, but, 
the gun in their unskilled hands proving often as fatal to 
themselves as to then* enemy, they are forced to resort to 
other means. Some tribes dig a pit, about ten yards deep, 
four or five wide, and narrower at the mouth than the 
base. The tents of the little camp surround it, and round 
them again is a hedge two or three yards high, made of 
branches of trees interlaced; a second smaller hedge 
divides the tents from the pit in order to prevent the flocks 
from falling into it. The lion prowling in search of food 
scents his prey, leaps both hedges at one bound, and falls 
roaring with anger into the pit digged for him. The whole 
camp is aroused, and so great is the rejoicing that no one 
sleeps all night. Guns are let off and fires lit to inform 
the whole district, and in the morning all the neighbours 
arrive, not only men, but women, children, and even dogs. 
When it is light enough to see, the hedge surrounding 
the pit is removed in order to look at the lion, and to 
judge by its age and sex what treatment it is to receive, 
according to what harm it may have done. If it is a 
young lion or a lioness the first spectators retire from the 
sight disgusted, to make room for others whose raptures 
are equally soon calmed. But if it is a full-grown lion 
with abundant mane, then it is a very different scene; 
frenzied gestures and appropriate cries spread the joyful 



STORIES ABOUT LIONS 299 

news from one to another, and the spectators crowd in 
such numbers that they nearly edge each other into the 
pit. When everyone has thrown his stone and hurled his 
imprecation, men armed with guns come to put an end 
to the noble animal's torture ; but often ten shots have 
been fired before, raising his majestic head to look con- 
temptuously on his tormentors, he falls dead. Not till long 
after this last sign of life do the bravest venture to let them- 
selves down into the pit, by means of ropes, to pass a net 
under the body of the lion, and to hoist it up to the surface 
by means of a stake planted there for the purpose. When 
the lion is cut up, the mothers of the tribe receive each a 
small piece of his heart, which they give to their sons to 
eat to make them strong and courageous ; with the same 
object they make themselves amulets of hairs dragged out 
from his mane. 

Other tribes make use of the ambush, which may be 
either constructed underground or on a tree. If under- 
ground a hole is dug, about one yard deep, and three or 
four wide, near a path frequented by the lion; it is 
(iovered with branches weighted down by heavy stones, 
and loose earth is thrown over all. Four or five little 
t)penings are left to shoot through, and a larger one to 
Berve as a doorway, which may be closed from within by 
a block of stone. In order to ensure a good aim the Arabs 
kill a boar and lay it on the path opposite the ambush ; 
the lion inevitably stops to sniff this bait, and then they 
all fire at once. Nevertheless he is rarely killed on the 
spot, but frantically seeking his unseen enemies, who are 
beneath his feet, he makes with frenzied bounds for the 
nearest forest, there sometimes to recover from his 
wounds, sometimes to die in solitude. The ambush in a 
tree is conducted on the same lines as the other, except 
that the hunters are above instead of below their quarry, 
from whom they are screened by the branches. 

There are, however, in the province of Constantine 
some tribes of Arabs who hunt the lion in a more sports- 



300 



STORIES ABOUT LIONS 



manlike manner. When a lion has made his presence 
known, either by frequent depredations or by roarings, 
a hunting party is formed. Some men are sent in advance 
to reconnoitre the woods, and when they return with 
such information as they have been able to gather as to 
the age, sex, and whereabouts of the animal, a council 
of war is held, and a plan of campaign formed. Each 




THE AMBUSH 



hunter is armed with a gun, a pistol, and a yataghan, and 
then five or six of the younger men are chosen to ascend 
the mountain, there to take their stand on different com- 
manding points, in order to watch every movement of 
the lion, and to communicate them to their companions 
below by a pre-arranged code of signals. When they are 
posted the general advance begins ; the lion, whose hear- 



STORIES ABOUT LIONS 301 

ing is extremely acute, is soon aware of the approach of 
enemies, who in their turn are warned by the young men 
on the look-but. Finally, when the lion turns to meet the 
hunters the watchers shout with all their might ' Aou- 
likoum ! ' ' Look out ! ' At this signal the Arabs draw 
themselves up in battle array, if possible with their backs 
to a rock, and remain motionless till the lion has 
approached to within twenty or thirty paces ; then the 
word of command is given, and each man, taking the best 
aim he can, fires, and then throws down his rifle to seize 
his pistol or yataghan. The lion is generally brought to 
the ground by this hail of bullets, but unless the heart 
or the brain have been pierced he will not be mortally 
wounded; the hunters therefore throw themselves upon 
him before he can rise, firing, stabbing right and left, 
blindly, madly, without aim, in the rage to kill. Some- 
times in his mortal agony the lion will seize one of the 
hunters, and, drawing him under his own body, will 
torture him, almost as a cat does a mouse before killing 
it. Should this happen, the nearest relation present 
of the unhappy man will risk his own life in the 
attempt to rescue him, and at the same time to put an 
end to the lion. This is a perilous moment ; when the 
lion sees the muzzle of the avenger's rifle pointed at his 
ear he will certainly crush in the head of his victim, 
even if he has not the strength left to spring on his assail- 
ant before the latter gives him the coiip^ cle grace. 

The Arabs in the neighbourhood of Constantine used, 
about fifty years ago, to send there for a famous French 
lion-hunter, Jules Gerard by name, to rid them of some 
unusually formidable foe. They never could understand 
his way of going to work — alone and by night — which 
certainly presented a great contrast to their methods. 
On one occasion a family of five — father, mother, and three 
young lions — were the aggressors. The Arab sheik, lead- 
ing Monsieur Gerard to the river, showed him by their 
footprints on the banks where this fearful family were in 



302 STORIES ABOUT LIONS 

the habit of coming to drink at night, but begged him not 
to sacrifice himself to such fearful odds, and either to 
return to the camp, or to take some of the tribe with him. 
Ge'rard declining both suggestions, the sheik was obliged 
to leave, as night was at hand, and the lions might appear 
at any moment. First he came near the hunter, and 
spoke these words low : ' Listen, I have a counsel to give 
thee. Be on thy guard against the Lord of the Mighty 
Head; he will lead the way. If thy hour has come, he 
will kill thee, and the others will eat thee.' Coming still 
nearer the sheik whispered : ' He has stolen my best mare 
and ten oxen.' 'Who? who has stolen them?' asked 
Monsieur Gerard. ' He^' and the sheik pointed for 
further answer to the mountain. ' But name him, name 
the thief.' The answer was so low as to be barely audible : 
' The Lord of the Mighty Head,' and with this ominous 
counsel the sheik departed, leading Gerard to his vigil. 

As the night advanced the moon appeared, and lit up 
the narrow ravine. Judging by its position in the 
heavens it might be eleven o'clock, when the tramp of 
many feet was heard approaching, and several luminous 
points of reddish light were seen glittering through the 
thicket. The lions were advancing in single file, and the 
lights were their gleaming eyes. Instead of five there 
were only three, and the leader, though of formidable 
dimensions, did not come up to the description of the 
Lord of the Mighty Head. All three stopped to gaze in 
wonder at the man who dared to put himself in their path. 
Ge'rard took aim at the shoulder of the leader and fired. 
A fearful roar announced that the shot had told, and the 
wounded lion began painfully dragging himself towards 
his assailant, while the other two slunk away into the 
wood. He had got to within three paces when a second 
shot sent him rolling down into the bed of the stream. 
Again he returned to the charge, but a third ball right in 
the eye laid him dead. It was a fine, large, young lion of 
three years, with formidable teeth and claws. As agreed 



STORIES ABOUT LIONS 305 

upon with the sheik, Monsieur Gerard immediately lit a 
bonfire in token of his victory, in answer to which shots were 
fired to communicate the good news to all the surround- 
ing district. At break of day two hundred Arabs arrived 
to insult their fallen enemy, the sheik being the first to 
appear, with his congratulations, but also with the informa- 
tion that at the same hour that the young lion had been 
shot, the Lord of the Mighty Head had come down and 
taken away an ox. These devastations went on unchecked 
for more than a year, one man alone, Lakdar by name, 
being robbed of forty-five sheep, a mare, and twenty-nine 
oxen. Finally he lost heart, and sent to beg Monsieur 
Gerard to come back and deliver him if possible of his 
tormentor. For some nights the lion made no sign, but 
on the thirteenth evening Lakdar arrived at the lion- 
hunter's camp, saying : ' The black bull is missing from 
the herd ; to-morrow morning I shall find his remains and 
thou wilt slay the lion for me.' 

Accordingly next morning at dawn Lakdar returned 
to announce that he had found the dead bull. Gerard 
rose and, taking his gun, followed the Arab. Through 
the densest of the forest they went, till at the foot of a 
narrow rocky ravine, close to some large olive trees, they 
found the partially devoured carcase. Monsieur Gerard 
cut some branches the better to conceal himself, and took 
up his position under one of the olive trees, there to await 
the approach of night, and with it the return of the lion 
to the spoil. Towards eight o'clock, when the feeble light 
of the new moon barely penetrated into the little glade, a 
branch was heard to crack at some distance. The lion- 
hunter rose and, shouldering his weapon, prepared to do 
battle. From about thirty paces distant came a low growl, 
and then a guttural sound, a sign of hunger with the lion, 
then silence, and presently an enormous lion stalked from 
the thicket straight towards the bull, and began licking 
it. At this moment Monsieur Gerard fired, and struck 
the lion within about an inch of his left eye. Roaring 

20 



3o6 STORIES ABOUT LIONS 

with pain, he reared himself up on end, when a second 
bullet right in the chest laid him on his back, frantically 
waving his huge paws in the air. Quickly reloading, 
Monsieur Gerard came close to the helpless monster, and 
while he was raising his great head from the ground fired 
two more shots, which laid the lion stone dead, and thus 
brought to an end the career of the ' Lord of the Mighty 
Head.' 



307 



BUILDERS AND WEAVERS 

N"o one can examine birds and their ways for long together 
without being struck by the wonderful neatness and 
cleverness of their proceedings. They make use of a 
great many different kinds of materials for their nests, 
and manage somehow to turn out a nest which not only 
will hold eggs, but is strong and of a pretty shape. Rotten 
twigs are, curiously enough, what they love best for the 
outside, and upon the twigs various substances are laid, 
according to the species and taste of the builder. The 
jay, for instance, collects roots and twists them into a firm 
mass, which he lays upon the twigs ; the American star- 
ling uses tough wet rushes and coarse grass, and after 
they are matted together, somehow ties the nest on to 
reeds or a bush ; while the missel thrush lines the casing 
of twigs with tree moss, or even hay. To these they often 
add tufts of wool, and lichen, and the whole is fastened 
together by a kind of clay. The favourite spot chosen by 
the missel thrush is the fork of a tree in an orchard, where 
lichens are large and plentiful enough to serve as a cover- 
ing for the nests. 

Still, if the account given by Vaillant and Paterson is 
true, the sociable grosbeaks, surpass all the other birds in 
skill and invention. They have been known to cover the 
trunks of trees with a huge kind of fluted umbrella, made 
of dry, fine grass, with the boughs of the trees poking 
through in various places. No doubt in the beginning 
the nest was not so large, but it is the custom of these 



3o8 BUILDERS AND WEAVERS 

birds to live together in clans, and each year fresh * rooms ' 
have to be added. When examined, the bird city was 
found to have many gates and regular streets of nests, 
each about two inches distant from the other. The 
structure was made of ' Boshman's ' grass alone, but so 
tightly woven together that no rain could get through. 
The nests were all tucked in under the roof, which, by 
projecting, formed eaves, thus keeping the birds warm and 
dry. Sometimes the umbrella has been known to contain 
as many as three hundred separate nests, so it is no 
wonder that the tree at last breaks down with the weight, 
and the city has to be founded again elsewhere. 

Now in the nests of all these birds there has been a 
good deal of what we called ' building ' and ' carpentry * 
when we are talking of our own houses and our own 
trades. But there are a whole quantity of birds spread 
over the world, who are almost exclusively weavers, and 
can form nests which hang down from the branch of a 
tree without any support. To this class belongs the 
Indian sparrow, which prefers to build in the tops of the 
very highest trees (especially on the Indian fig) and par- 
ticularly on those growing by the river-side. He weaves 
together tough grass in the form of a bottle, and hangs it 
from a branch, so that it rocks to and fro, like a hammock. 
The Indian sparrow, which is easily tamed, does not 
like always to live with his family, so he divides his nest 
into two or three parts, and is careful to place its entrance 
underneath, so that it may not attract the notice of the 
birds of prey. In these nests glow-worms have frequently 
been found, carefully fastened into a piece of fresh clay, 
but whether the bird deliberately tries in this way to light 
up his dark nest, or whether he has some other use for 
the glow-worm, has never been found out. But it seems 
quite certain that he does not eat it, as Sir William Jones 
once supposed. 

The Indian sparrow is a very clever little bird, and 
can be taught to do all sorts of tricks. He will catch a 



BUILDERS AND WEAVERS 309 

ring that is dropped into one of the deep Indian wells, 
before it reaches the water. He can pick the gold ornament 
neatly off the forehead of a young Hindu woman, or carry 
a note to a given place like a carrier pigeon. At least so 
it is said ; but then very few people have even a bowing 
acquaintance with the Indian sparrow. 



3IO 



MORE FAITHFUL THAN FAVOURED 



There never was a more faithful watch-dog than the 
great big-limbed, heavy-headed mastiff that guarded Sir 
Harry Lee's Manor-house, Ditchley, in Oxfordshire.^ The 
sound of his deep growl was the terror of all the gipsies 
and vagrants in the county, and there was a superstition 
among the country people, that he was never known to 
sleep. Even if he was seen stretched out on the stone 
steps leading up to the front entrance of the house, with 
his massive head resting on his great fore-paws, at the 
sound of a footfall, however distant, his head would be 
raised, his ears fiercely cocked, and an ominous stiffening 
of the tail would warn a stranger that his movements 
were being closely watched, and that on the least suspicion 
of anything strange or abnormal in his behaviour, he 
would be called to account by Leo. Strangely enough, 
the mastiff had never been a favourite of his master's 
The fact that dogs of his breed are useless for purposes of 
sport, owing to their unwieldy size and defective sense 
of smell, had prevented Sir Harry from taking much no- 
tice of him. He looked upon the mastiff merely as a 
watch-dog. The dog would look after him, longing to be 
allowed to join him in his walk, or to follow him when 
he rode out, through the lanes and fields round his house, 
but poor Leo's affection received little encouragement. 
So long as he guarded the house faithfully by day and 

1 More about this gentleman and his dog may be read in Wood- 
stocky by Sir Walter Scott. 



' MORE FAITHFUL TEA N FA VO URED ' 311 

night, that was all that was expected of him : and as in 
doing this he was only doing his duty, and fulfilling the 
purpose for which he was there, little notice was taken 
of him by any of the inmates of the house. His meals 
were supplied to him with unfailing regularity, for his 
services as insuring the safety of the house were fully 
recognised; but as Sir Harry had not shown him any 
signs of favour, the servants did not think fit to bestow 
unnecessary attention on him. So he lived his solitary 
neglected life, in summer and winter, by night and day, 
zealous in his master's interests, but earning little 
reward in the way of notice or affection. 

One night, however, something occurred that suddenly 
altered the mastiff's position in the household, and from 
being a faithful slave, he all at once became the beloved 
friend and constant companion of Sir Harry Lee. It was 
in winter, and Sir Harry was going up to his bedroom as 
usual, about eleven o'clock. Great was his astonishment 
on opening the library door, to find the mastiff stretched 
in front of it. At sight of his master Leo rose, and, wag- 
ging his tail and rubbing his great head against Sir Harry's 
hand, he looked up at him as if anxious to attract his 
attention. With an impatient word Sir Harry turned 
away, and went up the oak-panelled staircase, Leo 
following closely behind him. When he reached his bed- 
room door, the dog tried to follow him into the room, and 
if Sir Harry had been a more observant man, he must 
have noticed a curious look of appeal in the dog's eyes, 
as he slammed the door in his face, ordering him in com- 
manding tones to ' Go away ! ' an order which Leo did 
not obey. Curling himself up on the mat outside the 
door, he lay with his small deep-sunk eyes in eager watch- 
fulness, fixed on the door, while his heavy tail from time 
to time beat an impatient tattoo upon the stone floor of 
the passage. 

Antonio, the Italian valet, whom Sir Harry had brought 
home with him from his travels, and whom he trusted 



312 'MORE FAITHFUL THAN FAVOURED' 

absolutely, was waiting for his master, and was engaged 
in spreading out his things on the toilet table. 

'That dog is getting troublesome, Antonio,' said Sir 
Harry. ' I must speak to the keeper to-morrow, and tell 
him to chain him up at night outside the hall. I cannot 
have him disturbing me, prowling about the corridors and 
passages all night. See that you drive him away, when 
you go downstairs.' 

' Yes, signor,' replied Antonio, and began to help 
his master to undress. Then, having put fresh logs of 
wood on the fire, he wished Sir Harry good-night, and 
left the room. Finding Leo outside the door, the valet 
whistled and called gently to him to follow him; and, as 
the dog took no notice, he put out his hand to take hold 
of him by the collar. But a low growl and a sudden flash 
of the mastiff's teeth, warned the Italian of the danger of 
resorting to force. With a muttered curse he turned away, 
determined to try bribery where threats had failed. He 
thought that if he could secure a piece of raw meat from 
the kitchen, he would have no difficulty in inducing the 
dog to follow him to the lower regions of the house, where 
he could shut him up, and prevent him from further im- 
portuning his master. 

Scarcely had Antonio's figure disappeared down the 
passage, when the mastiff began to whine in an uneasy 
manner, and to scratch against his master's door. Dis- 
turbed by the noise, and astonished that his faithful valet 
had disregarded his injunctions, Sir Harry got up and 
opened the door, on which the mastiff pushed past him 
into the room, with so resolute a movement that his master 
could not prevent his entrance. The instant he got into 
the room, the dog's uneasiness seemed to disappear. 
Ceasing to whine, he made for the corner of the room 
where the bed stood in a deep alcove, and, crouching 
down, he slunk beneath it, with an evident determination 
to pass the night there. Much astonished, Sir Harry was 
too sleepy to contest the point with the dog, and allowed 



' MORE FAITHFUL THA N FA VO URED ' 313 

him to remain under the bed, without making any further 
attempt to dislodge him from the strange and unfamiliar 
resting-place he had chosen. 

When the valet returned shortly after with the piece 
of meat with which he hoped to tempt the mastiff down- 
stairs, he found the mat deserted. He assumed that the 
dog had abandoned his caprice of being outside his master's 
door, and had betaken himself to his usual haunts in the 
basement rooms and passages of the house. 

Whether from the unaccustomed presence of the dog 
in his room, or from some other cause, Sir Harry Lee was 
a long time in going to sleep that night. He heard the 
different clocks in the house strike midnight, and then 
one o'clock ; and as he lay awake watching the flickering 
light of the fire playing on the old furniture and on the 
dark panels of the wainscot, he felt an increasing sense of 
irritation against the dog, whose low, regular breathing 
showed that he, at any rate, was sleeping soundly. To- 
wards two in the morning Sir Harry must have fallen 
into a deep sleep, for he was quite unconscious of the 
sound of stealthy steps creeping along the stone corridor 
and pausing a moment on the mat outside his room. 
Then the handle of the door was softly turned, and the 
door itself, moving on its well-oiled hinges, was gently 
pushed inward. In another moment there was a tremen- 
dous scuffle beneath the bed, and with a gi-eat bound the 
mastiff flung himself on the intruder, and pinned him 
to the floor. Startled by the unexpected sounds, and 
thoroughly aroused, Su- Harry jumped up, and hastily lit 
a candle. Before him on the floor lay Antonio, with the 
mastiff standing over him, uttering his fierce growls, and 
showing his teeth in a dangerous manner. Stealthily the 
Italian stole out his hand along the floor, to conceal some- 
thing sharp and gleaming that had fallen from him, on 
the dog's unexpected onslaught, but a savage snarl from 
Leo warned him to keep perfectly still. Calling off the 
mastiff, who instantly obeyed the sound of his master's 



314 'MORE FAITHFUL THAN FAVOURED' 

voice, though with bristling hair and stiffened tail he still 
kept his eyes fixed on the Italian, Sir Harry demanded 
from the valet the cause of his unexpected intrusion into 
his bedroom at that hour, and in that way. There was so 
much embarrassment and hesitation in Antonio's reply, 




*ANB PmNED HIM TO THE GROUND' 



that Sir Harry's suspicions were aroused. In the mean- 
time the unusual sounds at that hour of the night had 
awakened the household. Servants came hurrying along 
the passage to their master's room. Confronted by so 
many witnesses, the Italian became terrified and abject, 
and stammered out such contradictory statements, that it 



'MORE FAITHFUL THAN FAVOURED' 315 

was impossible to get at the truth of his story, and Sir 
Harry saw that the only course open to him was to have 
the man examined and tried by the magistrate. 

At the examination the wretched valet confessed that 
he had entered his master's room with the intention of 
murdering and robbing him, and had only been prevented 
by the unexpected attack of the mastiff. 

Among the family pictures in the possession of the 
family of the Earls of Lichfield, the descendants of Sir 
Harry Lee, there is a full-length portrait of the knight 
with his hand on the head of the mastiff, and beneath this 
legend, 'More faithful than favoui-ed.' 



3i6 



DOLPHINS, TURTLES, AND COD 



Stories from Audubon ^ 

In the excellent life of Mr. Audubon, the American natu- 
ralist (published in 1868 by Sampson Low, Marston & 
Co.)? some curious stories are to be found respecting the 
kinds of fish that he met with in his voyages both through 
the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Audubon's remarks 
about the habits of dolphins are especially interesting, and 
will be read with pleasure by everybody who cares for 
' the sea and all that in them is.' 

Dolphins abound in the Gulf of Mexico and the neigh- 
bouring seas, and are constantly to be seen chasing flying 
fish, which are their food. Flying fish can swim more 
rapidly than the dolphins, which of course are far larger 
creatures ; but if they find themselves much outnumbered, 
and in danger of being surrounded, they spread the fins 
that ser^^e them for wings, and fly through the air for a 
short distance. At first this movement throws out the 
dolphins, who are unable to follow the example of their 
prey, but they soon contrive to keep up with the flying 
fish by giving great bounds into the air; and as the flying 
fish's powers are soon exhausted, it is not long before the 
hunt comes to an end and the dolphins seize the fish as 
they tumble into the sea. 

Sailors are fond of catching dolphins, and generally 
bait their hooks with a piece of shark's flesh. When the 
fish is taken, its friends stay round it till the last moment, 

1 From Audubon s Life, by Robert Buchanan. Sampson Low & Co. 



DOLPHINS, TURTLES, AND COD ^^j 

only swimming away as the dolphin is hauled on board. 
For its size, which is generally about three feet long and 
has rarely been known to exceed four feet, the dolphin 
has a remarkably good appetite, and sometimes he eats so 
much that he is unable to escape from his enemy, the 
bottle-nosed porpoise. A dolphin that was caught in the 
Gulf of Mexico was opened by the sailors, and inside him 
were counted twenty-two flying fish, each one six or seven 
inches long, and all arranged quite neatly with their tails 
foremost. Before they have then* dinner they are full of 
fun, and their beautiful blue and gold bodies may often be 
seen leaping and bounding and diving about the ship — a 
sight which the sailors always declare portends a gale. 
Indeed, the stories to which dolphins give rise are many 
and strange. The negroes believe that a silver coin, fried 
or boiled in the same water as the fish, will turn into 
copper if the dolphin is in a state unfit for food ; but as 
no one can swear that he has ever seen the transmutation 
of the metal, it may be suspected that the tale was 
invented by the cook for the sake of getting an extra 
dollar. 

About eighty miles from the Peninsula of Florida are 
a set of low, sandy banks known as the Tortuga or Turtle 
Islands, from the swarms of turtles which lay their 
eggs in the sand, and are eagerly sought for by traders. 

Turtles are of many sorts, but the green turtle is 
considered the best, and is boiled down into soup, which 
is both rich and strengthening. They are cautious 
creatures, and never approach the shore in the daylight, 
or without watching carefully for some time to see if 
the coast is indeed clear. They may be seen on 
quiet moonlight nights in the months of May and June, 
lying thirty or forty yards from the beach, listening 
intently, and every now and then making a loud hissing 
noise intended to frighten any enemies that may be 
lurking near. If their quick ears detect any sound, 



3i8 DOLPHINS, TURTLES, AND COD 

however faint, they instantly dive and swim to some 
other place ; but if nothing is stirring, they land on the 
shore, and crawl slowly about with the aid of their flappers, 
until they find a spot* that seems suitable for the hatching 
of their eggs, which often number two hundred, laid at 
one time. The operations are begun by the turtle scoop- 
ing out a hole in the burning sand by means of her hind 
flappers, using them each by turns, and throwing up the 
sand into a kind of rampart behind her. This is done so 
quickly that in less than ten minutes she will often have 
dug a hole varying from eighteen inches to two feet. 
When the eggs are carefully placed in separate layers, 
the loose sand is laid over them, and the hole not only 
completely hidden but made to look exactly like the rest 
of the beach, so that no one could ever tell that the surface 
had been disturbed at all. Then the turtle goes away and 
leaves the hot sand to do the rest. 

In course of time the young turtles, hardly bigger 
than a five-shilling piece, leave their shells, and make 
their way to the water, unless, before they are hatched, 
their nest has been discovered by men, or by the 
cougars and other wild animals, who feed greedily on 
them. If they belong to the tribe of the green turtles, 
they will at once begin to seek for sea plants, and 
especially a kind of grass, which they bite off near the 
roots, so as to get the teuderest parts. If they are young 
hawk-bills, they will nibble the seaweed, and soon go on to 
crabs and shell-fish, and even little fishes. The logger- 
heads grow a sharp beak, which enables them to crack the 
great conch shells, and dig out the fish that lives inside, 
while the trunk turtle, which is often of an immense size 
but with a very soft body, loves sea-urchins and shell-fish. 
All of them can swim so fast that they often seem to be 
flying, and it needs much quickness of eye and hand to 
spear them in the water. Even to catch them on shore 
is a matter of great diflBculty, and in general more than 
one man is required for the service. The turtle is raised 



DOLPHINS, TURTLES, AND COD 319 

up from behind by a man on his knee, pushing with all 
his might against her shoulder ; but this has to be done 
with great caution, or else the hunter may get badly bitten. 
When the turtle is fully raised up, she is thrown over on 
her back, and, like a sheep in a similar position, can seldom 
recover herself without help. The turtles, when caught, 
are put into an enclosure of logs with a sandy or muddy 
bottom through which the tide flows, and here they are 
kept and fed by their captors till they are ready for the 
market. Unlike most creatures, their price is out of all 
proportion to their weight, and a loggerhead turtle weigh- 
ing seven hundred pounds has been known to cost no 
more than a green turtle of thirty. 

Early in May, and well into June, the seas extending 
northwards from Maine to Labrador are alive with ships 
just starting for the cod fishing. Their vessels are mostly 
small but well stocked, and a large part of the space below 
is filled with casks, some full of salt and others empty. 
These empty ones are reserved for the oil that is procured 
from the cod. 

Every morning, as soon as it is light, some of the crew 
of each ship enters a small boat, which can be sailed or 
rowed as is found necessary. When they reach the cod 
banks every man boards up part of his boat for the fish 
when caught, and then takes his stand at the end with 
two lines, baited at the opening of the season with salted 
mussels, and later with gannets or capelings. These lines 
are dropped into the sea on either side of the boat, and when 
the gunwale is almost touching the water and it is danger- 
ous to put in any more fish, they give up work for the 
morning and return to the harbour. In general, fishing is 
a silent occupation, but cod fishers are rather a talkative 
race, and have bets with each other as to the amount of 
the ' takes ' of the respective crews. When they get back 
to their vessels, often anchored eight or ten miles away, 
they find that the men who have been left behind have set 



320 DOLPHINS, TURTLES, AND COD 

up long tables on deck, carried the salt barrels on shore, 
placed all ready the casks for the livers, and cleared the 
hold of everything but a huge wedge of salt for the salting. 
Then, after dinner, some of the men row back to the cod 
banks, while the others set about cleaning, salting, and 
packing the fish, so as to be quite finished when the men' 
return from their second journey. It is almost always 
midnight before the work is done, and the men can turn in 
for their three hours' sleep. 

If, as often happens, the hauls have been very large, the 
supply soon threatens to become exhausted, so on Sunday 
the captain sails off for a fresh bank. Then, the men who 
are the laziest or most unskilful in the matter of fishing 
take out the cargo that has been already salted, and lay it 
out on scaffolds which have been set up on the rocks. 
When the sun has dried the fish for some time, they are 
turned over ; and this process is repeated several times in 
the day. In the evening they are piled up into large stacks, 
and protected from the rain and wind. In July the men's 
work is in one way less hard than before, for this is the 
season when the capelings arrive to spawn upon the shores, 
and where capelings are, cod are sure to follow. Now 
great nets are used, with one end fastened to the land, 
and these nets will sometimes produce twenty or thirty 
thousand fish at a haul. 

With so many men engaged in the cod fishing, and 
considering the number of diseases to which cod are sub- 
ject, it is perhaps quite as well that each fish should 
lay such a vast supply of eggs, though out of the eight 
million laid by one fish which have been counted, it is 
calculated that, from various causes, only about a hundred 
thousand come to maturity. 



321 



MORE ABOUT ELEPHANTS'- 

Long, long ago, when the moon was still young, and 
some of the stars that we know best were only gradually 
coming into sight, the earth was covered all over with a 
tangle of huge trees and gigantic ferns, which formed the 
homes of all sorts of enormous beasts. There were no 
men, only great animals and immense lizards, whose 
skeletons may still be found embedded in rocks or frozen 
deep down among the Siberian marshes; for, after the 
period of fearful heat, when everything grew rampant, 
even in the very north, there came a time of equally in- 
tense cold, when every living creature perished in many 
parts of the world. 

When the ice which crushed down life on the earth 
began to melt, and the sun once more had power to pierce 
the thick cold mists that had shrouded the world, animals 
might have been seen slowly creeping about the young 
trees and fresh green pastures, but their forms were 
no longer the same as they once were. The enormous 
frames of all sorts of huge monsters, and the great 
lizard called the ichthyosaurus, had been replaced by 
smaller and more graceful creatures, who could move 
lightly and easily through this new world. But changed 
though it seemed to be, one beast still remained to tell the 
story of those strange old times, and that was the elephant. 

Now anybody who has ever stood behind a big, clumsy 
cart-horse going up a hill cannot fail to have been struck 
with its likeness to an elephant ; and it is quite true that 

1 From The Wild Elephant. Sir J. Emerson Tennent. 
21 



322 MORE ABOUT ELEPHANTS 

elephants and horses are nearly related. Of course in the 
East, where countries are so big and marches are so long, 
it is necessary to have an animal to ride of more strength 
and endurance than a horse, and so elephants, who are, 
when well treated, as gentle as they are strong, were very 
early trained as beasts of burden, or even as ' men-of-war.' 

In their wild condition they have a great many curi- 
ous habits. They roam about the forests of India or 
Africa in herds, and each herd is a real family, who have 
had a common grandfather. The elephants are very 
particular as to the number of their herd ; it is never less 
than ten, or more than twenty-one, but being very sociable 
they easily get on terms of civility with other herds, and 
several of these groups may be seen moving together to- 
wards some special pond or feeding ground. But friendly 
as they often are, each clan keeps itself as proudly dis- 
tinct from the rest as if they were all Highlanders. Any 
unlucky elephant who has lost his own herd, and tries to 
attach himself to a new one, is scouted and beaten away 
by every member of the tribe, till, like a man who is 
punished and scorned for misfortunes he cannot help, the 
poor animal grows desperate, and takes to evil courses, 
and is hunted down under the name of ' a rogue. ' 

Elephants have a great idea of law and order, and 
carefully choose a leader who is either strong enough or 
clever enough to protect the herd against its enemies. 
Even a female has sometimes been chosen, if her wisdom 
has been superior to that of the rest ; but male or female, 
the leader once fixed upon, the herd never fails to give 
him absolute obedience, and will suffer themselves to be 
killed in their efforts to save his life. 

As everyone knows, during the dry season in India 
water becomes very scarce, and even the artificial tanks 
that have been built for reservoirs are very soon empty. 
About the middle of this century, an English officer, 
Major Skinner by name, had drawn up to rest on the em- 
bankment of a small Indian tank, which, low though it 




LONG, LONG AGO. THE ELEPHANT DREAMS OF HIS OLD COMPANIONS 



MORE ABOUT ELEPHANTS 325 

was, contained the only water to be found for a great dis- 
tance. On three sides of the tank there was a clearing, 
but on the fourth lay a very thick wood, where the herd 
lay encamped all day, waiting for darkness to fall, so that 
they might all go to drink. Major Skinner knew the 
habits of elephants well, and what to expect of them, so he 
sent all his natives to sleep, and climbed himself into a 
large tree that sheltered the tank at one corner. However, 
it appeared that the elephants were unusually cautious 
that night, for he sat in his tree for two hours before a 
sound was heard, though they had been lively enough as 
long as the sun was shining. 

Suddenly a huge elephant forced his way through the 
thickest part of the forest, and advanced slowly to the 
tank, his ears at full cock, and his eyes glancing stealthily 
round. He gazed longingly at the water for some minutes, 
but did not attempt to drink — perhaps he felt it would be 
a mean advantage to take of his comrades — and then he 
quietly retraced his steps backwards till he had put about 
a hundred yards between himself and the water, when 
five elephants came out of the jungle and joined him. 
These he led forward, listening carefully as before, and 
placed them at certain spots where they could command 
a view both of the open country and the forest. This 
done, and the safety of the others provided for, he went to 
fetch the main body of the herd, which happened to be four 
or five times as large as usual. Silently, as if preparing 
for an assault, the whole of this immense body marched 
up to where the scouts were standing, when a halt was 
signalled, so that the leader might for the last time make 
sure that no hidden danger, in the shape of man, lion, or 
tiger, awaited them. Then permission was given, and 
with a joyful toss of their trunks in the air, in they dashed, 
drinking, wallowing, and rolling over with delight, till 
one would have thought it had been years since they had 
tasted a drop of water, or known the pleasures of a bath. 

From his perch in the tree Major Skinner had been 



326 MORE ABOUT ELEPHANTS 

watching with interest the movements of the herd, and 
when he saw that they had really had their fill, he gently 
broke a little twig and threw it on the ground. It seemed 
hardly possible that such a tiny sound could reach the 
ears of those great tumbling, sucking bodies, but in one 
instant they were all out of the tank, and tearing towards 
the forest, almost carrying the little ones between them. 

Of course it is not always that elephants can find tanks 
without travelling many hundreds of miles after them, 
and on these occasions their wonderful sagacity comes to 
their aid. They will pause on the banks of some dried-up 
river, now nothing but a sandy tract, and feel instinctively 
that underneath that sand is the water for which they 
thirst. But then, how to get at it? The elephants know 
as well as any engineer that if they tried to dig a hole 
straight down, the weight of their bodies would pull down 
the whole side of the pit with them, so that is of no use. 
In order to get round this difficulty, long experience has 
taught them that they must make one side to their well a 
gentle slope, and when this is done they can wait with 
perfect comfort for the water, whose appearance on the 
surface is only a question of time. 

Much might be written about the likes and dislikes of 
elephants, which seem as a rule to be as motiveless as 
the likes and dislikes of human beings. Till they are 
tamed and treated kindly by some particular person, 
elephants show a decided objection to human beings, and 
in Ceylon have a greater repugnance to a white skin than 
to a brown one. In fact, they are shy of anything new 
or strange, but will put up with any animal to which they 
are accustomed. Elks, pigs, deer, and buffaloes are their 
feeding companions, and the elephants take no more notice 
of their presence than if they were so many canaries. 
Indeed, as far as can be gathered, the elephant is much 
more afraid of the little domestic animals with which it 
is quite unacquainted than of the huge vegetable-eating 
beasts with which both it and its forefathers were on 



MORE ABOUT ELEPHANTS 



327 



intimate terms. Goats and sheep it eyes with annoyance; 
they are new creatures, and were never seen in jungles or 
forests ; but, bad as they might be, dogs, the shadows of 




328 MORE ABOUT ELEPHANTS 

men, were worse still. They were so quick, so lively, and 
had such hideous high voices, which they were always 
using, not keeping them for special occasions like any 
self-respecting quadruped. Really they might almost as 
well be parrots with their incessant chatter. But of all 
kinds of dogs, surely the one called a Scotch terrier was 
the most alarming and detestable. One day an animal 
of this species actually seized the trunk of an elephant in 
its teeth, and the elephant was so surprised and frightened 
that it fell on its knees at once. At this the dog was a 
little frightened too, and let go, but recovered itself again 
as the elephant rose slowly to its feet, and prepared to 
charge afresh. The elephant, not knowing what to make 
of it, backed in alarm, hitting out at the dog with its front 
paws, but taking care to keep his wounded trunk well 
beyond its reach. At last, between fright and annoyance 
he lost his head completely, and would have fairly run 
away if the keeper had not come in and put a stop to the 
dog's fun. 

If ^sop had known elephants — or Scotch terriers — he 
might have made a fable out of this ; but they had not 
visited Greece in his day. 



329 



BUNGEY^ 

During the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James, there 
lived a brave and accomplished knight called Sir John 
Harington, who had been knighted on the field of battle by 
the famous Earl of Essex, and had translated into English 
a long poem, by an Italian called Ariosto. But busy 
though he was in so many ways. Sir John still had time 
to spare for his ' raw dogge ' Bungey, and in the year 1608 
he writes a long letter to Prince Henry, elder brother of 
Charles I., full of the strange doings of his favourite. 
Bungey seems to have been used by Sir John as a sort of 
carrier pigeon, and he tells how he would go from Bath 
to Greenwich Palace, to ' deliver up to the cowrte there 
such matters as were entrusted to his care.' The nobles 
of the court made much of him, and sometimes gave him 
errands of their own, and it was never told to their ' Ladie 
Queen, that this messenger did ever blab ought concerning 
his highe truste, as others have done in more special matters.' 
More wonderful even than this was his behaviour con- 
cerning two sacks of wheat which Bungey had been com- 
missioned by Sir John's servant Combe, to carry from Bath 
to his own house at Kelston, a few miles distant. The 
sacks were tied round the dog's body by cords, but on the 
way the cords got loose, and Bungey, clever though he was, 
could not tie them up again. However he was not to be 
beaten, and hiding one ' flasket ' in some bushes that grew 
near by, he bore the other in his teeth to Kelston, and then 
returning, fetched the hidden one out of the rushes and 
^ From Jesse's British Dogs. 



330 



BUNGEY 



arrived with it in good time for dinner. Sir John is plainly 
rather afraid that Prince Henry may not quite believe this 
instance of sagacity, for he adds, ' Hereat your Highnesse 
may perchance marvell and doubte ; but we have living 
testimonie of those who wroughte in the fields, and espied 
his work, and now live to tell they did muche long to 
plaie the dogge, and give stowage to the wine themselves, 
but they did refraine, and watchede the passinge of this 
whole business.' 

As may be well guessed, the fame of Bungey's talents 
soon spread, and then, as now, there were many dog 
stealers in the country. On one occasion, as Sir John was 
riding from Bath to London, Bungey was tempted to leave 
his side by the sight of a pond swarming with wild duck 
or mallard. Unluckily other people besides Bungey thought 
it good sport to hunt wild fowl, and did not mind seizing 
valuable dogs, so poor Bungey was caught and bound, till 
it could be settled who would give the highest price for 
him. 

At last his captors decided that they would take him to 
London, which was not very far off, and trust to chance 
for finding a buyer. As it happened, the Spanish Ambas- 
sador was on the look out for a dog of that very kind, 
and he was so pleased with Bungey, that he readily agreed 
to give the large sum asked by the men who brought him. 
Now Bungey was a dog who always made the best of 
things, and as Sir John tells the Prince, ' suche was the 
courte he did pay to the Don, that he was no lesse in good 
likinge there than at home.' In fact, everybody grew so 
fond of him, that when after six weeks Sir John discovered 
where he was and laid claim to him, no one in the house 
could be prevailed on to give him up. Poor Sir John, who, 
as we know, was very much attached to Bungey, was at his 
wit's end what to do, when it suddenly occurred to him to 
let the dog himself prove who was his real master. So, 
having the Ambassador's leave to what he wished in the 
matter, he called all the company together at dinner-time 



BUNGEY 



ZZ^ 



and bade Bungey go into the hall where dinner was already 
served, and bring a pheasant from the dish. This, as Sir 
John says, ' created much mirthe ; but much more, when 
he returned at my commandment to the table, and put it 
again in the same cover.' After such a proof there was 
no more to be said, and Sir John was allowed to be the 
dog's master. But Bungey's life was not destined to be 
a very long one, and his death was strange and sudden. 
As he and his master were once more on the road from 




BUNGEY AT THE SPANISH AMBASSADOR'S HOUSE 



London to Bath on their return journey, he began jumping 
up on the horse's neck, and ' was more earneste in f awn- 
inge and courtinge my notice, than what I had observed 
for time backe ; and after my chidinge his disturbing my 
passinge forwardes, he gave me some glances of such 
affection as moved me to cajole him ; but alas ! he crept 
suddenly into a thorny brake, and died in a short time.' 

It is impossible to guess what kind of illness caused 
the death of poor Bungey, but it is pleasant to think that 



332 BUNGEY 

Sir John never forgot him, and also loved to talk of him 
to his friends. ' Now let Ulysses praise his dogge Argus,' 
he writes to Prince Henry, ' or Tobit be led by that dogge 
whose name doth not appear ; yet could I say such things 
of my Bungey as might shame them both, either for good 
faith, clear wit, or wonderful deedes ; to say no more than 
I have said of his bearing letters to London and Green- 
wich, more than a hundred miles. As I doubt not but 
your Highness would love my dogge, if not myselfe, I 
have been thus tedious in his storie ; and again sale, that 
of all the dogges near your father's courte, not one hathe 
more love, more diligence to please, or less paye for 
pleasinge, than him I write of. ' 



333 



LIONS AND THEIR WAYS^ 

Although it would not be safe to put one's self into the 
power of a lion, trusting to its generosity to make friends, 
there are a great many stories of the kindness of lions to 
other creatures which are perfectly true. One day, more 
than a hundred years ago, a lion cub only three months 
old was caught in one of the great forests near the river 
Senegal, and brought to a Fi-enchman as a gift. The 
Frenchman, who was fond of animals, undertook to train 
it, and as the cub was very gentle and quiet this was easily 
done. He soon grew very fond of his master, and enjoyed 
being petted both by him and his friends, and what was 
more strange in a beast whose forefathers had passed all 
their lives in solitude, the lion hated being by himself. The 
more the merrier was clearly Ms motto, and whether the 
company consisted of dogs, cats, ducks, sheep, geese, or 
monkeys (which were his bedfellows), or men and women, 
did not matter to him ; and you may imagine his joy, 
when one night as he went to bed he found two little new- 
born pups in his straw. He was quite as pleased as if he 
had been their mother ; indeed he would hardly let the 
mother go near them, and when one of them died, he 
showed his grief in every possible way, and became still 
more attached to its brother. 

After six months the lion, now more than a year old, 
was sent off to France, still with the little pup for com- 
pany. At first his keepers thought that the strangeness 
of everything would make him frightened and savage, 

1 Bingley's Animal Biography. 



334 LIONS AND THEIR WAYS 

but he took it quite calmly and was soon allowed to 
roam about the ship as he pleased. Even when he 
landed at Havre, he only had a rope attached to his 
collar, and so he was brought to Versailles, the pup trot- 
ting happily by his side. Unfortunately, however, the 
climate of Europe did not agree with the dog as with the 
lion, for he gradually wasted away and died, to the terrible 
grief of his friend. Indeed he was so unhappy that 
another dog was put into the cage to make up for the 
lost one, but this dog was not used to lions, and only knew 
that they were said to be savage beasts, so he tried to hide 
himself. The lion, whose sorrow, as often happens, only 
made him irritable and cross, was provoked by the dog's 
want of confidence in his kindness, and just gave him one 
pat with his paw which killed him on the spot. But he 
still continued so sad, that the keepers made another 
effort, and this time the dog behaved with more sense, 
and coaxed the lion into making friends. The two lived 
happily together for many years, and the lion recovered 
some of his spirits, but he never forgot his first companion, 
or was quite the same lion again. 

Many hundreds of miles south of Senegal a Hottentot 
who lived in Namaqualand was one evening driving down 
a herd of his master's cattle, to drink in a pool of water, 
which was fenced in by two steep walls of rock. It had 
been a particularly hot summer, and water was scarce, 
so the pool was lower than usual, and it was not until the 
whole herd got close to the brink, that the Hottentot 
noticed a huge lion, lying right in the water, preparing to 
spring. The Hottentot, thinking as well as his fright 
would let him think at all, that anything would serve as 
supper for the lion, dashed straight through the herd, and 
made as fast as he could for some trees at a little distance. 
But a low roar behind him told him that he had been wrong 
in his calculations, and that the lion was of opinion that 
man was nicer than bull. So he fled along as quickly as 
his trembling legs would let him, and just reached one of 



LIONS AND THEIR WAYS 337 

the tree aloes in which some steps had been cut by the 
natives, as the lion bounded into the air. However the 
man swung himself out of his enemy's range, and the lion 
fell flat upon the ground. Now the branches of the tree 
were covered with hundreds of nests of a kind of bird 
called the Sociable Grosbeak, and it was to get these nests 
that the natives had cut in the smooth trunk the steps 
which had proved the salvation of the Hottentot. Behind 
the shelter of the nests the Hottentot cowered, hoping 
that when he was no longer seen, the lion would forget 
him and go in search of other prey. But the lion seemed 
inclined to do nothing of the sort. For a long while he 
walked round and round the tree, and when he got tired 
of that he lay down, resolved to tire the man out. The 
Hottentot hearing no sound, peeped cautiously out, to see 
if his foe was still there, and almost tumbled down in 
terror to meet the eyes of the lion glaring into his. So 
the two remained all through the night and through the 
next day, but when sunset came again the lion could bear 
his dreadful thirst no longer, and trotted off to the nearest 
spring to drink. Then the Hottentot saw his chance, 
and leaving his hiding place he ran like lightning to his 
home, which was only a mile distant. But the lion did 
not yield without a struggle ; and traces were afterwards 
found of his having returned to the tree, and then scented 
the man to within three hundred yards of his hut. 



328 



THE HISTORY OF JAGKO I. 



The ship 'Roxalana' of Marseilles lay anchored in the 
Bay of Loando, which as we all know is situated in South 
Guinea. The ' Roxalana ' was a merchant vessel, and a 
brisk traffic had been going on for some time with the 
exchange of the European goods with which the ship had 
been laden, for ivory and other native produce. All hands 
were very busy getting on board the various provisions 
and other stores needed for a long voyage, for it was in 
the days of sailing vessels only, and it would be some 
time before they could hope to return to Marseilles. 

Now the captain of the ' Roxalana ' was a mighty 
hunter, and seeing that all was going on well under the 
first officer's direction, he took his gun and a holiday and 
went up country for one more day's sport. 

He was as successful as he was brave, and he had the 
great good luck to meet a tiger, a young hippopotamus, 
and a boa constrictor. All these terrible creatures fell 
before the unerring aim of the Provengal Nimrod, and 
after so adventurous a morning's work the captain 
naturally began to feel tired and hungry, so he sat down 
under the shade of some trees to rest and have some 
lunch. 

He drew a flask of rum out of one pocket, and having 
uncorked it placed it on his right side ; from his other 
pocket he produced a huge guava, which he laid on his 
left side, and finally he drew a great wedge of ship biscuit 
from his game bag and put it between his knees. Then 
he took out his tobacco pouch and began to fill his pipe 




ANNOYANCE OF THE CAPTAIN ON FINDING HIS FLASK OF RUM UPSET 



THE HISTORY OF JACKO I. 341 

so as to have it ready at hand when he had finished his 
meal. 

Imagine his surprise when, having filled his pipe, he 
found the flask had been upset and the guava had dis- 
appeared ! 

I am afraid the captain made use of some very strong 
language, but there was nothing for it but to make the 
best of the biscuit, the sole relic of his feast. As he 
munched it he warily turned his head from side to side, 
watching for the thief, when all of a sudden something 
fell upon his head. The captain put up his hand and 
found — the skin of his guava. Then he raised his eyes 
and saw a monkey dancing for joy at his own pranks in 
the tree just above him. 

As I have already shown the captain was an excellent 
shot. Without stirring from his seat, he took up his gun 
and with a shot snapped the end of the branch on which 
his persecutor was sitting. 

Down came branch and monkey, and the captain at 
once captured the latter before it had time to recover from 
the surprise of its rapid fall. 

He was small and quite young, only half grown, but 
of a rather rare kind, as the captain, who had an ever-ready 
eye to the main chance, at once perceived. 

' Ah ha ! ' said he, ' this little fellow will be worth fifty 
francs if he's worth a farthing by the time we get back to 
Marseilles.' 

So saying he popped the monkey into his game-bag 
and buttoned it carefully up. Then, feeling that a piece of 
biscuit was not quite a sufficient lunch after the fatigues of 
his morning's sports, he retraced his steps and returned to 
his ship in company with his monkey, whom he named 
' Jacko.' 

Before leaving Loando the captain, who was fond of 
pets, bought a beautiful white cockatoo with a saffron 
crest and jet black beak. ' Cataqua ' (that was his har- 
monious name) was indeed a lovely creature and extremely 



342 TEE HISTORY OF JACKO I. 

accomplished into the bargain. He spoke French, 
English, and Spanish equally well, and sang ' God save 
the King,' the ' Marseillaise,' and the Spanish National 
Anthem with great perfection. 

The aptitude for languages made him a ready pupil, 
and his vocabulary was largely increased by daily associa- 
tion with the crew of the ' Roxalana,' so that before they 
had been very long at sea Cataqua swore freely in the 
purest Proveugal, to the delight and admiration of his 
captain. 

The captain was very fond of his two pets, and every 
morning, after inspecting the crew and giving each man 
his orders for the day, he would go up to Cataqua's cage, 
followed by Jacko, and give the cockatoo a lesson. When 
this was well said he would reward his pupil by sticking 
a lump of sugar between the wires of the cage, a reward 
which delighted Cataqua whilst it filled Jacko with 
jealousy. 

He too loved sugar, and the moment the captain's 
back was turned he would draw near the cage and pull 
and pinch till the lump of sugar generally changed its 
destination, to the despair of Cataqua, who, crest erect 
and with brandished claw, rent the air with shrieks of rage 
mingled with angry oaths. 

Jacko meanwhile stood by affecting an innocent air 
and gently sucking the sugar which he had stowed away 
in one of his pouches. Unluckily none of Cataqua's 
owners had taught him to cry ' stop thief ' and he soon 
realised that if Jacko were to be punished he must see to 
it himself. 

So one day, when the monkey after safely abstracting 
the sugar pushed a paw between the bars of the cage 
to gather up some remaining crumbs, Cataqua, who was 
gently swinging, head down, and apparently unconscious 
of what was going on, suddenly caught Jacko's thumb in 
his beak and bit it to the bone. 

Jacko uttered a piercing shriek, rushed to the rigging 



THE HISTORY OF JACKO I 343 

and climbed as far as he could, when he paused, clinging 
on by three paws and piteously brandishing the fourth in 
the air. 

Dinner-time came, and the captain whistled for Jacko, 
but contrary to all customs no Jacko came. The captain 
whistled again, and this time he thought he heard an 
answering sound which seemed to come from the sky. 
He raised his eyes and beheld Jacko still waving his 
injured paw. Then began an exchange of signals, with 
the result that Jacko firmly refused to come down. Now 
the captain had trained his crew to habits of implicit 
obedience and had no notion of having his orders resisted 
by a monkey, so he took his speaking trumpet and called 
for Double Mouth. 

Double Mouth was the cook's boy, and he had well 
earned his nickname by the manner in which he took 
advantage of his culinary position to make one meal 
before the usual dinner hour without its interfering in 
the least with his enjoyment of a second at the proper 
time. At the captain's call Double Mouth climbed on 
deck from the cook's galley and timidly approached his 
chief. 

The captain, who never wasted words on his sub- 
ordinates, pointed to Jacko, and Double Mouth at once 
began to give chase with an activity which proved that 
the captain had chosen well. As a matter of fact Jacko 
and Double Mouth were dear friends, the bond of sym- 
pathy which united them being one of greediness, for 
many a nice morsel Jacko had to thank the cook's boy 
for. So when the monkey saw who was coming, instead 
of trying to escape him he ran to meet him, and in a few 
minutes the two friends, one in the other's arms, returned 
to the deck where the captain awaited them. 

The captain's one treatment for wounds of all kinds 
consisted of a compress steeped in some spirit, so he at 
once dipped a piece of rag in rum and bandaged the 
patient's thumb with it. The sting of the alcohol on the 



344 THE HISTORY OF JACKO I, 

wound made Jacko dance with pain, but noticing that the 
moment the captain's back was turned Double Mouth 
rapidly swallowed the remains of the liquid in which the 
rag had been dipped, he realised that however painful as 
a dressing it might possibly be agreeable to the palate. 
He stretched out his tongue and very delicately touched 
the bandage with its tip. It was certainly rather nice, 
and he licked more boldly. By degrees the taste grew on 
him, and he ended by putting his thumb, bandage and all, 
into his mouth and sucking it bodily. 

The result was that (the captain having ordered the 
bandage to be wetted every ten minutes) by the end of a 
couple of hours Jacko began to blink and to roll his head, 
and as the treatment continued he had at length to be 
carried off by Double Mouth, who laid him on his own 
bed. 

Jacko slept without stirring for some hours. AVhen he 
woke the first thing which met his eyes was Double Mouth 
busy plucking a fowl. This was a new sight, but Jacko 
seemed to be particularly struck by it on this occasion. 
He got up from the bed and came near, his eyes steadily 
fixed on the fowl, and carefully watched how the whole 
operation proceeded. When it was ended, feeling his head 
a little heavy still, he went on deck to take the air. 

The weather was so settled and the wind so favourable 
that the captain thought it only a waste to keep the 
poultry on board alive too long, so he gave orders that a 
bird should be served daily for his dinner in addition to 
his usual rations. Soon after a great cackling was heard 
amongst the hencoops and Jacko climbed down from the 
yard where he was perched at such a rate that one might 
have thought he was hastening to the rescue. He tore into 
the kitchen, where he found Double Mouth already pluck- 
ing a newly killed fowl, till not an atom of down was left 
on it. 

Jacko showed the deepest interest in the process, 
and on returning to deck he, for the first time since his 



THE HISTORY OF JACKO I. 



345 



accident, approached Cataqua's cage, carefully keeping 
beyond range of his beak however. After strolling 
several times round, he at last seized a favourable moment 
and clutching hold of one of Cataqua's tail feathers, 
pulled hard till it came out regardless of the cockatoo's 
screams and flappings. This trifling experiment caused 
Jacko the greatest delight, and he fell to dancing on all 
fours, jumping up and falling back on the same spot 
which all his life was the way in which he showed his 
supreme content about anything. 

Meantime the ship had long lost sight of land and 
was in full sail in mid ocean. It appeared unnecessary 
to the captain, therefore, to keep his cockatoo shut up in 
a cage, so he opened the door and released the prisoner, 
there being no means of escaping beyond the ship. 
Cataqua instantly took advantage of his freedom to climb 
to the top of one of the masts, where, with every appear- 
ance of rapture, he proceeded to regale the ship's company 
with his entire large and varied vocabulary, making quite 
as much noise by himself as all the five-and-twenty 
sailors who formed his audience. 

Whilst this exhibition was taking place on deck a 
different scene was being enacted below. Jacko had as 
usual approached Double Mouth at plucking time, but 
this time the lad, who had noticed the extreme attention 
with which the monkey watched him, thought that 
possibly there might be some latent talent in him which 
it was a pity not to develop. 

Double Mouth was one of those prompt and energetic 
persons who waste no time between an idea and its 
execution. Accordingly he quietly closed the door, put 
a whip into his pocket in case of need, and handed Jacko 
the duck he was about to pluck, adding a significant 
touch to the handle of the whip as a hint. 

But Jacko needed neither hint nor urging. Without 
more ado he took the duck, placed it between his knees 
as he had seen his tutor do, and fell to with a will. As 



346 THE HISTORY OF JACKO I. 

he found the feathers giving place to down and the down 
to skin, he became quite enthusiastic, so much so that 
when his task was done he fell to dancing for joy exactly 
as he had done the day before by Cataqua's cage. 

Double Mouth was overjoyed for his part. He only 
regretted not having utilised Jacko's talents sooner, but 
he determined to do so regularly in the future. Next day 
the same operation took place, and on the third day, 
Double Mouth, recognising Jacko's genius, took off his 
own apron and tied it round his pupil, to whom from that 
moment he resigned the charge of preparing the poultry 
for the spit. Jacko showed himself worthy of the confi- 
dence placed in him, and by the end of a week he had 
quite distanced his teacher in skill and quickness. 

Meantime the ship was nearing the Equator. It was 
a peculiarly sultry day, when the very sky seemed to sink 
beneath its own weight; not a creature was on deck but 
the man at the helm and Cataqua in the shrouds. The 
captain had flung himself into his hammock and was 
smoking his pipe whilst Double Mouth fanned him with 
a peacock's tail. Even Jacko seemed overcome by the 
heat, and instead of plucking his fowl as usual, he had 
placed it on a chair, taken off his apron, and appeared lost 
in slumber or meditation. 

His reverie, however, did not last long. He opened 
his eyes, glanced round him, picked up a feather which 
he first stuck carelessly in his mouth and then dropped, 
and at length began to slowly climb the ladder leading on 
deck, pausing and loitering at each step. He found the 
deck deserted, which apparently pleased him, as he gave 
two or three little jumps whilst he glanced about to look 
for Cataqua, who with much gesticulation was singing 
' God save the King ' at the top of his voice. 

Then Jacko seemed to forget his rival's existence 
altogether, and began lazily to climb the rigging on the 
opposite side, where he indulged in various exercises, 
swinging by his tail head down, and generally appearing 



THE HISTORY OF JACKO I. 347 

to have only come with a view to gymnastics. At 
length, seeing that Cataqua took no notice of him, he 
quietly sidled that way, and at the very moment that the 
performance of the English National Anthem was at its 
height, he seized the singer firmly with his left hand just 
where the wings join the body. 

Cataqua uttered a wild note of terror, but no one was 
sufficiently awake to hear it. 

' By all the winds of heaven ! ' exclaimed the captain 
suddenly. ' Here's a phenomenon — snow under the 
Equator! ' 

' No,' said Double Mouth, ' that's not snow, that's — 
ah, you rascal ! ' and he rushed towards the companion. 

'Well, what is it then?' asked the captain, rising in 
his hammock. 

' What is it ? ' cried Double Mouth from the top of the 
ladder. ' It's Jacko plucking Cataqua ! ' 

The captain was on deck in two bounds, and with a 
shout of rage roused the whole crew from their slumbers. 

' Well ! ' he roared to Double Mouth, ' what are you 
about, standing there? Come, be quick! ' 

Double Mouth did not wait to be told twice, but was 
up the rigging like a squirrel, only the faster he climbed 
the faster Jacko plucked, until when the rescuer reached 
the spot it was a sadly bare bird which he tore from 
Jacko's vindictive hands and carried back to his master. 

Needless to say that Jacko was in dire disgrace after 
this exploit. However, in time he was forgiven and often 
amused the captain and crew with his pranks. 

When the ' Roxalana ' reached Marseilles after a quick 
and prosperous voyage, he was sold for seventy-five francs 
to Eugene Isabey the painter, who gave him to Flero for 
a Turkish hookah, who in his turn exchanged him for a 
Greek gun with Decamps. 



348 



SIGNORA AND LORn 



A GENTLEMAN living at Giistrow, in Mecklenburg, who 
was very fond of animals, possessed a fine parrot, which 
had beautiful plumage, and could talk better than most 
of his kind. Besides the parrot, he had a poodle, called 
Signora Patti, after the great singer, whom the gentleman 
had once heard when he was upon a visit to Rostock ; 
after his return home he bestowed the name upon his 
dear poodle. 

Under the tuition of her master, the poodle began to 
be an artist in her way. There was no trick performed 
by dogs too difficult for her to learn. The parrot, whose 
name was Lori, paid the greatest attention whilst the 
Signora's lessons were going on, and he soon had all the 
vocabulary, which the Signora carried in her head, not 
only in his memory, but on his tongue. 

When the dog was told by her master to ' go to the 
baker,' then Lori could croak out the words also. Signora 
Patti would hasten to fetch the little basket, seat herself 
before her master, and, looking up at him with her wise 
eyes, scrape gently upon the floor with her paw, which 
signified : ' Please put in the money. ' Her master 
dropped in a few coins', the Signora ran quickly to the 
baker with the basket, and brought it back filled with 
little cakes ; placing it before her master, she awaited her 
reward, a good share of the dainties. 

Often, for a variety in the lessons, she had to go to 
the baker without money ; then her master simply gave 
1 Translated from Deutsche Blatter, 1867. No. 10. 



SIGNORA AND LORI 



349 



the order, ' on tick ! ' and the Signora, who knew that the 
cakes would be sent, obeyed the command at once. 

The parrot made a droll use of these practisings, 
turning to account his knowledge of speech in the slyest 
way. If he found himself alone with the poodle, who 
was perhaps comfortably stretched on her cushion, Lori 
would cry — imitating his master's voice — as if he quite 
understood the joke : ' Go out ! ' Poor Patti would get 




LORI REFUSES TO SHARE WITH THE SIGNORA 



up in obedience to the order and slink out of the door 
with her ears drooping. And immediately Lori would 
whistle, just in the tone used by his master, and the 
Signora then returned joyfully into the room. 

But it was not only for pastime that Lori exercised 
his gift ; the cunning bird used it for the benefit of his 
greedy beak. It began to happen often to the master to 
find that his private account-book, carefully kept in the 
smallest details, did not ao;ree well with that of bis 



35© SIGNORA AND LORI 

neighbour the baker. The Signora, declared the baker, 
had become most accomplished in the art of running up 
a long bill, and always, of course, at her master's orders. 
Only he, the master, when he looked over the reckoning, 
growled to himself : ' My neighbour is a rogue ; he chalks 
up the amount double.' 

How very much was he astonished, then, and how 
quickly were his suspicions turned into laughter, when 
he beheld, through a half-open door, the following absurd 
scene. 

It was one fine morning, and Lori sat upon the top 
of his cage, calling out in his shrillest tones : ' Signora, 
Signora ! ' The poodle hastened to present herself before 
him, wagging her tail, and Lori continued, ' Go to the 
baker.' The Signora fetched the little basket from its 
place, and put it before her tyrant, scratching her paw on 
the floor to ask for money. 

' On tick ! ' was Lori's prompt and brief remark ; the 
Signora seized the basket, and rushed out of the door. 
Before long she returned, laid the basket, full of the little 
cakes, before the parrot, and looked with a beseeching 
air for the reward of her toil. 

But the wicked Lori received her with a sharp ' get 
out,' putting her to flight, and proceeded to enjoy his ill- 
gotten gains in solitude. 



351 



OF THE LINNET, POPINJAY, OB PARROT, 
AND OTHER BIRDS THAT CAN SPEAK 

The linnets be in manner the best birds of all others, 
howbeit, they be very docible. Do they will whatsoever 
they are taught and bidden, not only with their voice, but 
also with their feet and bills, as if they were hands. In 
the territory about Arelate (Aries) there is a bird called 
Taurus (because it loweth like a bull or cow, for otherwise 
a small bird it is) . There is another also named Anthus, 
which likewise resembleth the neighing of horses ; and if 
haply by the approach of horses they be driven from their 
grass whereof they feed, they will seem to neigh, and fly- 
ing unto them, chase them away, and to be revenged of 
them again. But above all other birds of the air, the 
parrots pass for counterfeiting a man's voice, insomuch as 
they will seem to parle and prate our very speech. This 
fowl Cometh out of the Indies ; it is all the body over 
green, only it hath a collar about the neck of vermilion 
red, different from the rest of her feathers. The parrot 
can skill to salute emperors, and bid good-morrow : yea, 
and to pronounce what words she heareth. She loveth 
wine well, and when she hath drunk freely, is very pleasant 
and playful. She hath an head as hard as is her beak. 
When she learns to speak, she must be beaten about the 
head with a rod of iron ; for otherwise she careth for no 
blows. When she taketh her flight down from any place, 
she lighteth upon her bill, and resteth thereupon, and 
by that means saveth her feet, which by nature are but 



352 OF TEE LINNET, POPINJAY, OR PARROT 

weak and feeble, and so carrieth her own weight more 
lightly. 

There is a certain pie, of nothing so great reckoning 
and account as the parrot, because she is not far set, but 
here by near at hand : howbeit, she pronounces that which 
is taught her more plainly and distinctl}^ than the other. 
These take a love to the words that they speak ; for they 
not only learn them as a lesson, but they learn them with 
a delight and pleasure, insomuch that a man shall find 
them studying thereupon, and conning the said lesson ; 
and by their careful thinking upon that which they learn 
they show plainly how mindful and intentive they be 
thereto. It is for certain known that they have died for 
very anger and grief that they could not learn to pronounce 
some hard words; as also unless they hear the same 
words repeated often unto them, their memory is so shittle, 
they will soon forget the same again. If they miss a word 
and have lost it, they will seek to call it again to remem- 
brance ; and if they fortune to hear the same word in the 
meantime, they will wonderfully joy thereat. As for their 
beauty, it is not ordinary, although it be not very lovely. 
But surely amiable enough are they in this, that they can 
so well resemble man's speech. It is said that none of 
their kind are good to be made scholars, but such only as 
feed upon mast ; and among them, those that have five 
toes to their feet. But even these also are not fit for that 
purpose, after the first two years of their age. And their 
tongue is broader than ordinary ; like as they be all that 
counterfeit man's voice, each one in their kind, although 
it be in manner general to birds whatsoever to be broad- 
tongued. 

Agrippina the Empress, wife to Claudius Caesar, had 
a black-bird or a throstle at what time I compiled this 
book, which could counterfeit man's speech ; a thing never 
seen or known before. The two C^sars also, the young 
princes (to wit. Germ aniens and Drusus,) had one stare, 
and sundry nightingales, taught to parle Greek and Latin. 



OF THE LINNET, POPINJAY, Ok PARROT 353 

Moreover, they would study upon their lessons, and medi- 
tate all day long ; and from day to day come out with new 
words still, yea, and are now able to continue along speech 
and discourse. Now for to teach them the better, these 
birds must be in a secret place apart by themselves, when 
they can hear no other voice ; and one is to sit over them, 
who must repeat often that which he would have them to 
learn ; yea, and please them also with giving them such 
meat as they best love. 



354 



PATCH AND TEE CHICKENS 



On a farm up in Durham, there were six little chickens 
who were deserted by the mother hen as soon as they 
were hatched. So the farmer's wife put them in a basket 
and carried them into the cottage to keep them warm by 
the fire. 

There they were discovered by a smooth-coated terrier, 
named Patch, who was at that time very sad because her 
little puppy had just died, and she began to look after 
the chickens as if they were her own children. The little 
chicks also turned to her quite naturally for care and 
protection. 

She used to treat them very gently, and would sit and 
watch them feed with the greatest interest. She would 
curl herself up, and then let them climb about her, and 
go to sleep between her paws. Sometimes she did not 
seem to consider the floor comfortable enough for her 
adopted family, and would jump on to a wooden settle 
which stood in the kitchen, and then with her feet she 
would pat the cushions into a cosy bed, and very carefully 
would take one chicken after another in her mouth, and 
place them on the softest part. 

Soon the time came for the chickens to be sent out into 
the world. 

One day when Patch was out for a walk they were 
taken to the farmyard. 

When the poor little dog returned she was quite broken- 
hearted, and ran whining about the cottage. Then, as if 
seized with a sudden thought, she walked out of the door, 



PATCH AND THE CHICKENS 355 

and in a very short time she reappeared, followed by her 
feathered family, and again they took up their abode in 
the cottage. Every morning Patch used to take them 
out for a walk, and it was a most amusing sight to see 
the little terrier followed by a procession of six stately 
hens. 

At last their living in the house became such an m- 
convenience to the farmer's wife that poor Patch's children 
had to be killed. 

For some time Patch was very unhappy, and would 
still go into the farmyard to look for her six chickens. 



356 



THE FIERCE FALCON^ 



There are not nearly so many stories about birds as 
about dogs and cats, because bii'ds can fly away, and it is 
more difficult to know what becomes of them. Perhaps, 
properly speaking, stories about birds have no business in 
a ' Beast Book,' but as long as the story is interesting, it 
does not do to be too particular. 

A good many years ago, a gentleman named St. John 
was exploring the high hills near the source of the Find- 
horn, in Inverness-shire, when he found a young falcon 
which was being reared as a pet by a shepherd boy, who 
gave her trout to eat. There was not much beauty about 
the falcon when Mr. St. John first saw her, for her 
plumage was dark-brown, with long-shaped spots on the 
breast, but in spite of that he took a fancy to her, and 
persuaded her master to sell her to him. When, however, 
she had passed her second birthda}^, and might be consi- 
dered grown up, she put on all her finest feathers, and 
was very much admired by everyone. Her throat became 
a lovely soft cream colour, and the brown on her back 
changed into a lovely dark grey, while on her bosom, each 
little feather was crossed by a bar. But lovely though 
she was, Mr. St. John felt her to be a great care, for she 
was very strong as well as very brave, and would never 
think twice about attacking dogs or even people, if they 
offended her. As for the fowls, she soon made such short 
work of them,, that her master was obliged to chain her 
up in the kitchen garden, which had hitherto formed the 
1 From Wild Sports of the Highlands. By C. St. John. 



THE FIERCE FALCON 357 

property of a tame owl. Luckily for the owl, the falcon 
at once made friends with him, and he was even allowed 
to finish up any of the falcon's dinner which she did not 
want herself. 

Matters went quite smoothly for some weeks, and Mr. 
St. John was beginning to flatter himself that his pet was 
quieting dow^u, and becoming quite a home bird, when one 
day a duck, tempted by the sight of the garden, whose 
gate had been carelessly left open, advanced a few steps 
along the path. Seeing nothing and nobody (for being 
daylight, the owl was asleep and the falcon too cunning 
to move) the duck became bolder, and walked merrily on, 
pecking at anything that took her fancy, and making funny 
little noises of satisfaction, unconscious of a pair of bright 
eyes that were watching her from behind a bush. Indeed, 
so absorbed was the duck in her afternoon tea, that she 
never even saw the falcon steal softly out and soar a little 
way up into the air, and suddenly swoop down with great 
force, and before the victim had time to be frightened she 
was dead, and her body was carried away in the falcon's 
claws, to serve for her supper. 

Now the duck was the mother of a large family, all 
newly hatched, and it would have fared very badly with 
them in their babyhood, had it not been for the kindness 
of a guinea-fowl, who adopted them as her own, directly 
she heard that they were left orphans and helpless. The 
guinea-fowl, indeed, was quite glad of the chance, because 
she had a warm heart, and had mourned sadly for her hus- 
band, who had been lately condemned to death on account 
of a series of horrible murders he had committed among the 
young chickens. So the good creature thought the duck's 
sad accident quite providential, and at once set about filling 
her place. Like many other mothers, instead of making 
the little ducklings fall into her ways, she fell into theirs, 
and never left their sides, except on urgent business. And 
they had, even then, only to call to her if they saw great 
clumsy animals such as dogs or children coming their way, 



358 THE FIERCE FALCON 

and down she would rush in a frightful hurry, half scram- 
bling, half flying over bushes and palings, and making 
furious pecks at the children's legs, if they ventured too 
close to her little ones. 

Still, not all her love nor all her courage would have 
prevented the guinea-fowl falling a victim to the falcon, if 
once the bird had got loose, and as it was, the falcon con- 
tinued to do a good deal of damage to the creatures about 
the farmyard. A cock, who had hitherto crowed very 
loudly and declared himself king of the birds, was foolish 
enough to give battle to our falcon. An hour after, a few 
feathers were all that remained of him^ and as to the 
pigeons, if they ever happened to get within the length of 
her chain, their doom was certain. At last the gaps in the 
poultry yard became so serious that Mr. St. John made up 
his mind that the falcon must be fastened up in a still more 
out-of-the-way place, and while he was altering her chain 
away she flew. Of course he thought she was gone for 
ever, and he watched her circling about the house with a 
very sad heart, for he still was fond of her, though she was 
such a very bad bird, and gave him so much trouble ; but 
as it was getting dark, he had to go in, and stealing a 
last look at her as he entered the house, he saw her 
settling down for the night, in the top of a tall tree. 

For five days no more was seen or heard of the wan- 
derer, and it was not until the fifth morning that Mr. St. 
John observed her, high in the air, fighting fiercely with 
some hooded crows. He stood out on the grass, where 
there was nothing to hide him, and whistled loudly. In 
an instant the falcon heard him, busily engaged though 
she was, and wheeled down to her old master, perching on 
his arm, and rubbing her beak against him. She did not 
seem to have been softened or improved by her taste of 
liberty, for she showed herself quite as ready as of old to 
attack everything within reach of her chain, first killing 
them, and then pulling off their hair or plucking out their 
feathers, before she began her meal. The only animal 



THE FIERCE FALCON 359 

which she could not swallow was a mole, and one day 
she swooped down on a Skye terrier, and it would certainly 
not have escaped alive, had not its master come to the 
rescue. But it is time we thought of something nicer 
than this dreadful bird. 



36o 



MR. BOLT, THE SCOTCH TERRIERS 

All children who know anything of dogs or cats will have 
found out very soon that the ugly ones are generally far 
cleverer and more sensible than the pretty ones, who are 
very apt to think too much of themselves, and will spend 
a long time admiring themselves in the glass, just as if 
they were vain men and women. Perhaps it is not al- 
together their fault if they are stupid, for when they are 
shaped well, and have fine glossy coats, their masters and 
mistresses spoil them, and give them too much to eat, so 
they grow lazy and greedy and disobedient, and like 
better to lie on the hearth-rug than to do tricks or jump 
over fences. 

Now, luckily for himself, Mr. Bolt, the hero of this 
story, was quite a plain dog. There could be no doubt 
about it; and those who loved him did so because he 
was useful and good company, and not because he was 
elegant or graceful. Bolt was a large Scotch terrier, 
rough and hairy, with a thick sort of grey fringe, and 
great dark eyes looking out from underneath the fringe. 
His tail and his legs were very short, and his back was 
very long, so long that he reminded one of a furniture 
van more than anything else. 

But, clever though he was. Bolt had his faults, and 
the worst of them was that he was very apt to take offence 
when none was intended, and was far too ready to pick a 
quarrel, and to hit out with all his might. He probably 
owed some of this love of fighting to the country in which 

1 Jesse's British Dogs. 



MR, BOLT, THE SCOTCH TERRIER 361 

he was born ; for, although a Scotch dog by descent, he 
was Irish by birth, and his earliest home was near Dublin. 
As everybody knows, the happiest moment of an Irish- 
man's life is when he is fighting something or somebody, 
and Bolt in his youth was as reckless as any Irishman of 
them all. He was hardly a year old when he turned upon 
his own mother, who had done something to displease 
him when they were chained together in a stable, and 
never let her throat go until she was stone dead. Cats, 
too, were his natural enemies, whom he fought and 
conquered when no dogs were at hand, and sometimes he 
would steal out at night from his master's bed, where he 
always slept, and go for a chase by the light of the moon. 
Early one morning a fearful noise was heard in the house, 
and when his master, unable to bear it any longer, got 
out of bed to see what had happened, he found a strange 
cat lying on the stairs quite dead, and the house-cat, with 
which Bolt was barely on speaking terms, sitting in a 
friendly manner by the side of the conqueror. It is 
supposed that the strange cat had been led either by 
motives of curiosity or robbery to enter by some open 
window, and that the house-cat, unable to drive him out, 
had welcomed Bolt's ready help for the purpose. Fighter 
though he was by nature. Bolt had inherited enough 
Scotch caution not to begin a quarrel unless he had a 
fair chance of victory ; but he was generous, and seldom 
attacked dogs smaller than himself, unless he was forced 
into it, or really had nothing better to do. He always 
began by seizing his enemy's hind leg, which no other 
dog had been known to do before, and he had such a 
dislike to dogs whose skins were yellow, that not even 
the company of ladies, and the responsibility weighing 
upon him as their escort, would stop Bolt's wild rush at 
his yellow foe. He hated being shut up too, and showed 
amazing cleverness in escaping from prison. If that was 
quite impossi])le, he did the next best thing, which was to 
gnaw and destroy every article he could in any way reach. 



362 MR. BOLT, THE SCOTCH TERRIER 

One day when he had behaved so oddly that his family 
feared he must be going mad (children have been known 
to frighten their parents in a similar way), he was chained 
up in a little room, and, feeling too angry to sleep, he 
amused himself all night with tearing a Bible, several 
shoes, and a rug, while he gnawed a hole through the 
door, and bit through the leg of a table. In the morning, 
when his master came to look at him, he seemed quite 
recovered, and very well pleased with himself. 

As you will see. Bolt had plenty of faults, but he also 
had some very good qualities, and when he did not think 
himself insulted by somebody's behaviour, he could show 
a great deal of sense. One night the cook had been 
sitting up very late, baking bread for the next day, and 
being very tired, she fell asleep by the kitchen fire, and a 
spark fell out on her woollen dress. As there was no 
blaze, and the girl was a heavy sleeper, she would most 
likely never have waked at all till it was too late, only 
luckily for her, the smell reached Bolt's nose as he was 
lying curled up on his master's bed, near the door which 
always stood open. Before rousing the house, and giving 
them all a great fright, he thought he had better make 
sure exactly what was wrong, so he ran first down to the 
kitchen from which the smell seemed to come, and finding 
the cook half stupefied by the smoke, he rushed back to 
call his master. This he managed to do by tearing up 
and down the room, leaping on the bed, and pulling off 
all the clothes, so that the poor man was quite cold. His 
master was much astonished at the state of excitement 
Bolt was in, and feared at first that he had gone mad, but 
after a few minutes he decided that he would get up and 
see what was the matter. Bolt went carefully before him 
into the kitchen and sat down by the side of the sleeping 
girl, turning his face anxiously to the door, to make sure 
that his master should make no mistake. So in a few 
seconds the fire was put out, and the girl escaped with 
nothing worse than a slight scorching. 



MR. BOLT, THE SCOTCH TERRIER 363 

1 might tell you many stories of Bolt and his funny 
ways, but I have only room for one now. After some 
time his mistress and her daughter left the house in which 
Bolt had spent so many years, and took lodgings in 
Dublin. Bolt went with them, but when they all arrived, 
the landlady declared she did not like dogs, and Bolt 
must be placed elsewhere. Now this was very awkward ; 
of course it was out of the question that Bolt could be 
left behind, yet it was too late to make other arrange- 
ments, so after some consideration he was sent back to 
some lodgings near by, where his master had formerly 
lived, and where they promised to take great care of him. 
His young mistress called every day to carry him off for 
a walk, and she often tried to get him to enter the house 
she herself was living in, but nothing would persuade the 
offended Bolt to go inside the door. He would sit on the 
step for some time, hoping she would be persuaded to 
return with /u'm, but when he found that was hopeless, he 
walked proudly back to his own rooms. His mistresses 
stayed in that house for nearly a year, and in all that 
time Bolt never forgot or forgave the slight put upon 
him, or could be induced to enter the house. Indeed, his 
feelings were so bitterly hurt, that even when they all set 
up house again, it was months before Bolt could be got to 
do anything more than pay his family a call now and 
then, and sometimes dine with them. So you see it is a 
serious thing to offend a dog, and he needs to be as 
delicately handled as a human being. 



3^4 



A RAVEN'S FUNERAL 



In the days of Tiberius the Emperor, there was a young 
raven hatched in a nest upon the church of Castor and 
Pollux ; which to make a trial how he could fly, took his 
first flight into a shoemaker's shop just over against the 
said church. The master of the shop was well enough 
content to receive this bird, as commended to him from so 
sacred a place, and in that regard set great store by it. 
This raven in short time being acquainted to man's speech, 
began to speak, and every morning would fly up to the 
top of the Rostra, or public pulpit for orations, when, 
turning to the open Forum or market place, he would 
salute and bid good-morrow to Tiberius Caesar, and after 
him to Germanicus and Drusus, the young princes, every 
one by their names : and anon the people of Rome also 
that passed by. And when he had so done, afterwards 
would fly again to the shoemaker's shop aforesaid. This 
duty practised, yea and continued for many years together, 
to the great wonder and admiration of all men. 

Now it fell out so, that another shoemaker who had 
taken the next shop unto him, either upon a malicious 
envy or some sudden spleen and passion of anger, killed 
the raven. Whereat the people took such indignation, 
that they, rising in an uproar, first drove him out of that 
street, and made that quarter of the city too hot for him ; 
and not long after murdered him for it. But contrariwise, 
the carcase of this raven was solemnly interred, and the 
funeral performed with all the ceremonial obsequies that 
could be devised. For the corpse of this bird was bestowed 



A RAVEN'S FUNERAL 367 

in a cofl^i, couch, or bed, and the same bedecked with 
chaplets of fresh flowers of all sorts, carried upon the 
shoulders of two blackamoors, with minstrels before, 
sounding the haut-boys, and playing on the fife, as far as 
the funeral fire, which was piled and made in the right 
hand of the causey Appia, in a certain plain or open 
field. 

So highly reputed the people of Rome that ready wit 
and apt disposition in a bird, as they thought it a sufficient 
cause to ordain a sumptuous burial therefore. 



368 



A STRANGE TIGERS 



In the year 1790, a baby tiger only six weeks old, 
whose skin was most beautifully marked in black and 
yellow, and whose figure was as perfectly modelled as the 
figure of any tiger could be, was put on board a large 
East India Company's ship called the ' Pitt,' to be brought 
to London as a present to George III. Of course, in 
those days, no one ever thought of coming through the 
Red Sea, but all vessels sailed all the way round by the 
Atlantic, so the voyage naturally took many months, 
especially if the winds were unfavourable. Under these 
circumstances it was as well to choose your fellow-passen- 
gers carefully, as you had to live such a long time with 
them. 

Unlike most of its tribe, the little tiger soon made 
itself at home on board ship, and as it was too small to 
do much harm, it was allowed to run about loose and 
played with anybody who had time for a game. It gen- 
erally liked to sleep with the sailors in their hammocks, 
and they would often pretend to use it for a pillow, as 
it lay at full length on the deck. Partly out of fun, 
and partly because it was its nature so to do, the tiger 
would every now and then steal a piece of meat, if it found 
one handy. One day it was caught red-handed by the 
carpenter, who took the beef right out of its mouth, and 
gave it a good beating, but instead of the man getting 
bitten for his pains, as he might have expected, the tiger 

1 Bingley's Animal Ptiof^raphy. 



A STRANGE TIGER 371 

took his punishment quite meekly, and bore the carpenter 
no grudge after. One of its favourite tricks was to run 
out to the very end of the bowsprit, and stand there look- 
ing over the sea, and there was no place in the whole 
ship to which it would not climb when the fancy took it. 
But on the whole, the little tiger preferred to have com- 
pany in its gambols, and was especially fond of dogs, of 
which there were several on board. They would chase each 
other and roll over together just like two puppies, and 
during the ten months or so that the voyage from China 
lasted, they had time enough to become fast friends. 
When the vessel reached London, the tiger was at once 
taken to the Tower, which was the Zoological Gardens of 
those days. The little fellow did not mind, for he was 
always ready to take what came and make the best of it, 
and all the keepers grew as fond of him as the sailors had 
been. 

No more is known about him for eleven months, when 
he was quite grown up, and then one day, just after he 
had had his dinner, a black rough-haired terrier pup was 
put into his cage. Most tigers would have eaten it at 
once, but not this one, who still remembered his early 
friends on board ship. He used to watch for the pup 
every day, and lick it all over, taking care never to hurt it 
with his rough tongue. In general, the terrier had its 
food outside the cage, but sometimes it was forgotten, and 
then it would try to snatch a bit of the tiger's meat ; but 
this the tiger thought impertinent, and made the dog 
understand that it was the one thing he would not stand. 

After several months of close companionship, the 
terrier was for some reason taken away, and one day, 
when the tiger awakened from his after-dinner nap, he 
found the terrier gone, and a tiny Dutch mastiff in its 
place. He was surprised, but as usual made no fuss, 
and proceeded to give it a good lick, much to the alarm of 
the little mastiff. However, its fright soon wore off, and 
in a day or two it might be seen barking round him and 



372 



A STRANGE TIGER 



even biting his feet, which the tiger never objected to, 
perhaps because he could hardly have felt it. 

Two years after the tiger had been settled in the Tower, 
the very same carpenter who had beaten him for stealing 
the beef came back to England and at once paid a visit 
to his old friend. The tiger was enchanted to see him, 
and rushing to the grating, began rubbing himself against 
it with delight. The carpenter begged to be let into the 
cage, and though the keepers did not like it, he declared 
there was no danger, and at last they opened the door. 
In a moment the tiger was by his side, nearly knocking 
him down with joy and affection, licking his hands and 
rubbing his head on his shoulders, and when, after two 
or three hours, the carpenter got up to go, the tiger would 
hardly let him leave the den, for he wanted to keep him 
there for ever. 

But all tigers cannot be judged by this tiger. 



373 



HALCYONS AND THEIR BIOGRAPHERS 



Some of the old writers, such as Pliny, Plutarch, Ovid, 
and Aristotle, tell a pretty story about a bird called the 
halcyon, which flew sporting over the seas, and in mid- 
winter, when the days were shortest, sat on its nest and 
brooded over its eggs. And Neptune, who loved these 
small, gay-plumaged creatures, took pity on them, and 
kept the waves still during the time of their sitting, so 
that by-and-bye the days in a man's life that were free 
from storm and tempest became known as his ' halcyon 
days,' by which name you will still hear them called. 

Now after a careful comparison of the descriptions of 
the ancient writers, modern naturalists have come to the 
conclusion that the ' halcyon ' of Pliny and the rest was 
no other than our beautiful kingfisher, which flashes its 
lovely green and blue along the rivers and cascades both 
of the Old World and the New. It is now known that the 
kingfisher is one of the burrowing birds, and that it scoops 
out in the sand or soft earth of the river banks a passage 
which is often as much as four feet long and grows 
wider as it recedes from the water. It feeds upon fish, and 
fish bones may be found in large numbers on the floor of the 
kingfisher's house, which, either from laziness or a dislike 
to change, he inhabits for years together. His eyes are 
wonderfully quick, and he can detect a fish even in tur- 
bulent waters from the bough of a tree. Then he makes a 
rapid dart, and rarely misses his prey. No bird has been 
the subject of so many superstitions and false stories as 
the kingfisher, which attracted much attention from its 



374 HALCYONS AND THEIR BIOGRAPHERS 

great beauty. Ovid changes the king of Magnesia and his 
wife Alcyone into kingfishers, Pliny talks of the bird's 
sweet voice (whereas its note is particularly harsh and 
ugly), and Plutarch mistakes the sea-urchin's shell for 
that of the halcyon. Even the Tartars have a story to tell 
of this bird, and assure us that a feather plucked from a 
kingfisher and then cast into the water will gain the love 
of every woman it afterwards touches, while the Ostiacs 
held that the possession of the skin, bill, and claws of 
the kingfisher will ensure the owner a life made up of 
' halcyon days. ' 



375 



THE STORY OF A FROG 



PART I 

Everyone knows what excitement the approach of the 
shooting season causes to a certain class of people in 
Paris. One is perpetually meeting some of them on their 
way back from the canal where they have been ' getting 
their hands in ' by popping at larks and sparrows, drag- 
ging a dog after them, and stopping each acquaintance to 
ask : ' Do you like quails and partridges ? ' ' Certainly.' 
* Ah, well, I'll send you some about the second or third of 
next month.' 'Many thanks.' ' By the way I hit five 
sparrows out of eight shots just now. Not bad, was it? * 
' First rate indeed ! ' 

Well, towards the end of August, 1830, one of these 
sportsmen called at No. 109 Jn the Faubourg St. -Denis, 
and on being told that Decamps was at home, climbed to 
the fifth floor, dragging his dog up step by step, and 
knocking his gun against every corner till he reached 
the studio of that eminent painter. However, he only 
found his brother Alexandre, one of those brilliant 
and original persons whose inherent laziness alone 
prevented his bringing his great natural gifts to 
perfection. 

He was universally voted a very good fellow, for his 
easy good nature made him ready to do or give whatever 
anyone asked. It was not surprising, therefore, that the 
new comer soon managed to persuade Alexandre that 
nothing could be more delightful than to attend the 



376 THE STORY OF A FROG 

opening of the shooting season on the plains of St.-Denis, 
where, according to general report, there were swarms of 
quails, clouds of partridges, and troops of hares. 

As a result of this visit, Alexandre Decamps ordered a 
shooting coat from his tailor, a gun from the first gun- 
maker's in Paris, and a pair of gaiters from an equally 
celebrated firm ; all of which cost him 660 francs, not to 
mention the price of his licence. 

On August 31 Alexandre discovered that one important 
item was still wanting to his outfit — a dog. He went at 
once to a man who had supplied various models to his 
brother Eugene's well-known picture of ' performing 
dogs,' and asked if he happened to have any sporting 
dogs. 

The man declared he had the very thing, and going to 
the kennel promptly whipped off the three-cornered hat 
and little coat worn by a black and white mongrel whom 
he hastened to present to his customer as a dog of the 
purest breed. Alexandre hinted that it was not usual for 
a pointer to have such sharp-pointed ears, but the dealer 
replied that ' Love ' was an English dog, and that it was 
considered the very best form for English dogs to have 
pointed ears. As this statement might be true, Alexandre 
made no further objections, but paid for the dog and took 
Love home with him. 

At five o'clock next morning Alexandre was roused up 
by his sporting friend, who, scolding him well for not 
being ready earlier, hurried him off as fast as possible, 
declaring the whole plain would be shot before they could 
get there. 

It was certainly a curious sight; not a swallow, not 
even the meanest little sparrow, could rise without a 
volley of shots after it, and everyone was anxiously on the 
look-out for any and every sort of bird that could possibly 
be called game. 

Alexandre's friend was soon bitten by the general 
fever and threw himself energetically amidst the excited 



THE STORY OF A FROG 



Z11 



crowd, whilst Alexandre strolled along more calmly, 
dutifully followed by Love. Now everyone knows that 
the first duty of any sporting dog is to scour the field and 




love's disgraceful behaviour out shooting 



not to count the nails in his master's boots. This thouoht 
naturally occurred to Alexandre, and he accordingly made 
a sign to Love and said : ' Seek ! * 



378 THE STORY OF A FROG 

Love promptly stood up on his hind legs and began 
to dance. 

' Dear me,' said Alexandre, as he lowered his gun and 
contemplated his dog : ' It appears that Love unites the 
lighter accomplishments to his more serious education. 
I seem to have made rather a good bargain.' However, 
having bought Love to point and not to dance, he waited 
till the dance was over and repeated in firm tones: 
' Seek!' 

Love stretched himself out at full length and appeared 
to be dead. 

Alexandre put his glass into his eye and inspected 
Love. The intelligent creature was perfectly immovable ; 
not a hair on his body stirred, he might have been dead 
for twenty-four hours. 

' This is all very pretty,' said Alexandre, ' but, my 
friend, this is not the time for these jokes. We are here 
to shoot — let us shoot. Come! get up.' 

Love did not stir an inch. 

'Wait a bit,' remarked Alexandre, as he picked up a 
stick from the ground and took a step towards Love, 
intending to stir him up with it : ' Wait a bit.' But no 
sooner did Love see the stick in his master's hand than 
he sprang to his feet and eagerly watched his movements. 
Alexandre thinking the dog was at last going to obey, held 
the stick towards him, and for the third time ordered him 
to ' seek.' 

Love took a run and sprang gracefully over the stick. 

Love could do three things to perfection — dance on 
his hind legs, sham dead, and jump for the king ! 

Alexandre, however, who did not appreciate the third 
accomplishment any more than he had done the two 
others, broke the stick over Love's back, which sent him 
off howling to his master's friend. 

As fate would have it the friend fired at that very 
moment, and an unfortunate lark fell right into Love's 
jaws. Love thankfully accepted this windfall, and made 



THE STORY OF A FROG 379 

but one mouthful of the lark. The infuriated sportsman 
threw himself on the dog, and seizing him by the throat 
to force open his jaws, thrust in his hand and drew out — 
three tail feathers : the bird itself was not to be thought 
of. 

Bestowing a vicious kick on the unhappy Love, he 
turned on Alexandre, exclaiming: 'Never again do you 
catch me shooting with you. Your brute of a dog has 
just devoured a superb quail. Ah ! come here if you 
dare, you rascal ! ' 

Poor Love had not the least wish to go near him. He 
ran as fast as he could to his master, a sure proof that he 
preferred blows to kicks. 

However, the lark seemed to have whetted Love's 
appetite : and perceiving creatures of apparently the same 
kind rise now and then from the ground, he took to 
scampering about in hopes of some second piece of good 
luck. 

Alexandre had some difficulty in keeping up with him, 
for Love hunted his game after a fashion of his own, that 
is to say with his head up and his tail down. This would 
seem to prove that his sight was better than his scent, 
but it was particularly objectionable to his master, for he 
put up the birds before they were within reach, and then 
ran barking after them. This went on nearly all day. 

Towards five o'clock Alexandre had walked about 
fifteen miles and Love at least fifty; the former was 
exhausted with calling and the latter with barking, when, 
all of a sudden Love began to point, so firmly and steadily 
that he seemed changed to stone. 

At this surprising sight Alexandre, forgetful of all his 
fatigues and disappointments, hurried up, trembling lest 
Love should break off before he could get within reach. 
No fear; Love might have been glued to the spot. Alex- 
andre came up to him, noted the direction of his eyes 
and saw that they were fixed on a tuft of grass, and that 
under this grass there appeared to be some greyish object. 



38o 



THE STORY OF A FROG 



Thinking it must be a young bird which had strayed froit 
its covey, he laid down his gun, took his cap in his hand, 
and cautiously creeping near, like a child about to catch 
a butterfly, he flung the cap over the unknown object, put 
in his hand and drew out — a frog ! 

Anyone else would have flung the frog away, but 
Alexandre philosophically reflected that there must cer- 
tainly be some great future in store for this, the sole result 
of his day's sport ; so he accordingly put the frog care- 
fully into his game bag and brought it home, where he 




THE SOLE RESULT OF HIS DAY'S SPORT 



transferred it to an empty glass jam jar and poured the 
contents of his water-bottle on its head. 

So much care and trouble for a frog may appear 
excessive ; but Alexandre knew what this particular frog 
had cost him, and he treated it accordingly. 

It had cost him 660 francs, without counting his 
licence. 

PART II 

'Ah, ah ! ' cried Dr. Thierry as he entered the studio 
next day, ' so you've got a new inmate.' And without 
paying any attention to Tom's friendly growls or to 
Jacko's engaging grimaces, he walked straight up to the 



THE STORY OF A FROG 



381 



jar which contained Mademoiselle Camargo — as she had 
already been named. ^ 

Mademoiselle Camargo, unaware that Thierry was not 
only a learned doctor, but also a most intellectual and 
delightful person, fell to swimming round and round her 
jar as fast as she could go, which however did not prevent 
her being seized by one of her hind legs. 




MADEMOISELLE CAMARGO BECOMES A BAROMETER 



' Dear me,' said Thierry, as he turned the little crea- 
ture about, ' a specimen of the Rana temporaria. See, 
there are the two black spots near the eyes which give it 
the name. Now if you only had a few dozens of this 
species, I should advise you to have a fricasse'e made of 
their hind legs, to send for a couple of bottles of good 

1 A fashionable dancer in Paris. 



382 THE STORY OF A FROG 

claret, and to ask me to dinner. But as you only happen 
to have one, we will, with your leave, content ourselves 
with making a barometer. 

'Now,' said Thierry, opening a drawer, 'let us attend 
to the prisoner's furniture.' Saying which he took out 
two cartridges, a gimlet, a penknife, two paint-brushes, 
and four matches. Decamps watched him without in the 
least understanding the object of all these preparations, 
which the doctor was making with as much care as though 
for some surgical operation. 

First he emptied the powder out of the cartridges into 
a tray and kept the bullets. Then he threw the brushes 
and ties to Jacko and kept the handles. 

'What the deuce are you about?' cried Decamps, 
snatching his two best paint-brushes from Jacko. ' Why 
you're ruining my establishment! ' 

' I'm making a ladder,' gravely replied Thierry. 

And true enough, having bored holes in the bullets, 
he fixed the brush handles into them so as to form the 
sides of the ladder, using the matches to make the rungs. 
Five minutes later the ladder was completed and placed 
in the jar, where the weight of the bullets kept it firmly 
down. 

No sooner did Mademoiselle Camargo find herself the 
owner of this article of furniture than she prepared to test 
it by climbing up to the top rung. 

'We shall have rain,' said Thierry. 

* You don't say so,' replied Decamps, ' and there's my 
brother who wanted to go out shooting again to-day.' 

' Mademoiselle Camargo does not advise his doing so,' 
remarked the doctor. 

' How so ? ' 

' My dear friend, I have been providing you with an 
inexpensive but reliable barometer. Each time you see 
Mademoiselle Camargo climb to the top of her ladder it's 
a sure sign of rain ; when she remains at the bottom you 
may count on fine weather, and if she goes up half-way, 



TEE STORY OF A FROG ^B>z 

don't venture out without your umbrella; changeable, 
changeable.' 

'• Dear me, dear me,' said Decamps. 

During the next six months Mademoiselle Camargo 
continued to foretell the weather with perfect and un- 
erring regularity. But for painful reasons into which we 
need not inquire too closely, Mademoiselle's useful career 
soon closed, and she left a blank in the menagerie. 



384 



THE WOODPECKER TAPPING ON THE 
HOLLOW OAK TREE 



Most children who were taught music forty or fifty years 
ago, learnt as one of their first tunes an air called ' The. 
Woodpecker Tapping on the Hollow Oak Tree.' Oak trees 
are not the only ones that woodpeckers, and especially 
American woodpeckers, ' tap ' on. There is hardly any 
old tree which they disdain to work upon, sometimes for 
food, sometimes for nesting purposes, sometimes it would 
seem merely for the sake of employment and of keeping 
their bills in order. 

For the woodpecker's bill is a very powerful instru- 
ment, and can get through a great deal of work. In the 
case of the ' ivory-billed woodpecker,' it is not only white, 
and hard, and strong, but it has a ribbed surface, which 
tends to prevent its breaking, and even if he does not form 
one of this class, the woodpecker is as clever in his own 
line as any carpenter, and more industrious than many. 
The moment that he notices symptoms of decay in any 
tree, he flies off to make a careful examination of it, and 
when he has decided on the best mode of attack, he loses 
no time, and has even been known to strip all the bark 
off a dead pine tree of thirty feet long in less than twenty 
minutes. And this not in little bits, but in sheets five or 
six feet long, and as whole as the fleece of a sheep when 
it is sheared. 

Of course different varieties of woodpeckers have little 
differences in their habits, in the same way that habits 



WOODPECKER TAPPING THE OAK TREE 385 

differ in different families; but certain customs and ways 
of digging are common to them all. Every woodpecker, 
for instance, when placed in a wooden cage, will instantly 
set to work to dig himself out of it, and to keep him safe, 
he needs to be surrounded by wire, against which his bill 
is utterly useless. In general the male and female work 
by turns at the hole, which is always begun by the male, 
and is as perfectly round as if it had been measured and 
drawn from one point to another. For a while the boring 
is quite straight, and then it takes a sloping direction, so 
as to provide a partial shelter against the rain. Some- 
times the bird will begin by a slope, and end in a direct 
line, but the hole is never straight all through, and the 
depth varies from two to five feet, according to the kind 
of woodpecker that is digging. The inside of the nest and 
the passage to it are as smooth as if they had been 
polished with a plane , and the chips of wood are often 
thrown down in a careless manner, at some distance, in 
order that attention may not be attracted to the spot. 
Often the bird's labours have to begin, especially in 
orchards, which are favourite nesting places with them, 
with having to turn out swarms of insects, nestling com- 
fortably between the bark and the tree. These he either 
kills or eats ; anyhow he never rests until they are safely 
got rid of. 

The woodpecker is never still, and, in many respects, 
is like a mischievous boy ; so, as can be imagined, he is 
not very easy to make a pet of. One adventurous person, 
however, captured a woodpecker in America, and has 
left us a history of its performances during the three 
days it lived in captivity. The poor bird was very 
miserable in its prison, and cried so like a child that many 
persons were completely taken in. Left alone for a short 
time in the room while his captor had gone to look after 
his horse, he examined the room carefully to see where 
lay his best chance of escape. His quick eye soon 
detected the plaster between the window and the ceiling, 



386 WOODPECKER TAPPING THE OAK TREE 

and he began at once to attack the weak place. He 
worked so hard that when his master returned he had laid 
bare the laths, and had bored a hole bigger than his own 
head, while the bed was strewn with big fragments of 
plaster. A very little while longer and he would have 
been free, and what a pity that he was disturbed in his 
work ! But his master was most anxious to keep him a 
little longer, to observe his ways, so he tied him to the 
leg of the table, and went off to get him some food. By 
the time the man came back the mahogany table was 
lying in bits about the floor, and the woodpecker was 
looking eagerly round to see what other mischief he could 
do. He would not eat food of any kind, and died in three 
days, to the great regret of his captor. 



387 



DOGS OVER THE WATER 

No animal, not even the horse, has made itself so many 
friends as the dog. A whole library might be filled with 
stories about what dogs have done, and men could learn 
a great deal from the sufferings dogs have gone through 
for masters that they love. 

Whatever differences there may be between foreigners 
and Englishmen, there is at any rate none in the behaviour 
of British and foreign dogs. ' Love me, love my dog,' the 
proverb runs, but in general it would be much more to the 
point to say ' love my dog, love me.' We do not know 
anything of the Austrian officer of whose death I am going 
to tell you, but after hearing what his dog did, we should 
all have been pleased to make the master's acquaintance. 

In the early years of this century, when nearly every 
country in Europe was turned into a battlefield by 
Napoleon, there was a tremendous fight between the 
French and the Austrians at Castiglione in Lombardy, 
which was then under the Austrian yoke. The battle was 
hard fought and lasted several hours, but at length the 
Austrian ranks were broken and they had to retreat, after 
frightful losses on both sides. After the field had been 
won, Napoleon, as his custom was, walked round among 
the dead and dying, to see for himself how the day had 
gone. Not often had he performed this duty amidst a 
greater scene of blood and horror, and as he came to a 
spot where the dead were lying thickest, he saw to his 
surprise a small long-eared spaniel standing with his feet 
on the breast of an Austrian officer, and his eyes fixed on 



^S8 BOGS OVER THE WATER 

his face, waiting to detect the slightest movement. Ab- 
sorbed in his watch, the dog never heard the approach of 
the Emperor and his staff, but Napoleon called to one of 
his attendants and pointed out the spaniel. At the sound 
of his voice the spaniel turned round, and looked at the 
Emperor, as if he knew that to him only he must appeal 
for help. And the prayer was not in vain, for Napoleon 
was very seldom needlessly cruel. The oflScer was dead 
and beyond any aid from him, but the Emperor did what 
he could, and gave orders that the dog should be looked 
after by one of his own men, and the wounded Austrians 
carefully tended. He knew what it was to be loved as 
blindly by men as that officer was loved by his dog. 

Nearly two years before this time, France was trem- 
bling in the power of a set of bloody ruffians, and in Paris 
especially no man felt his head to be safe from one hour 
to the other. Hundreds of harmless people were clapped 
into prison on the most paltry charges, and if they were 
not* torn to pieces by infuriated crowds, they ended their 
lives on the guillotine. 

Among the last of the victims before the fall of Robes- 
pierre, which finished the Reign of Terror, was a magis- 
trate in one of the departments in the North of France 
whom everyone looked up to and respected. It may be 
thought that it would not have been easy to find a pretext 
for throwing into prison a man of such an open and 
honourable life, but when other things failed, a vague 
accusation of conspiracy against the Government was 
always possible, and accordingly the magistrate was ar- 
rested in his own house. No one was there to help him 
or to share his confinement. He had long sent away his 
children to places of safety ; some of his relations were in 
gaol like himself, and his friends dared not come forward. 
They could have done him no good, and would only have 
shared his fate. In those dark days every man had to suffer 
alone, and nobly they did it. Only one friend the magis- 
trate had who ventured openly to show his affection, and 



DOGS OVER THE WATER 391 

even he might go no farther than the prison doors, namely, 
his spaniel, who for twelve years had scarcely left his side ; 
but though dogs were not yet proscribed, the spaniel's 
whinings availed nothing, and the gates were shut against 
him. At first he refused to believe that his master would 
never come back, and returned again and again with the 
hopes of meeting the magistrate on his way home. At last 
the dog's spirits gave way, and he went to the house of a 
friend of the family who knew him well, and received him 
kindly. Even here, however, he had to be carefully hidden 
lest his protector should be charged with sheltering the dog 
of an accused person, and have to pay the penalty on the 
guillotine. The animal seemed to know what was ex- 
pected of him, and never barked or growled as dogs love to 
do ; and indeed he was too sad to take any interest in 
what was going on around him. The only bright spot in 
his day was towards evening when he was secretly let out, 
and he made straight for the gate of the prison. The gate 
was never opened, but he always hoped that this time it 
would be, and sat on and on till he felt that his chance 
was gone for that day. All the prison officials knew him 
by sight, and were sorry for him, and one day the gaoler's 
heart was softened, and he opened the doors, and led him 
to his master's cell. It would be difficult to say which of 
the two was the happier, and when the time came for the 
prisoners to be locked up for the night, the man could 
scarcely tear away the dog, so closely did he cling to his 
master. However, there was no help for it, he had to be 
put outside, lest it should occur to some one in authority 
to make a visit of inspection to the prison. Next evening 
the dog returned at the same hour and was again admitted, 
and when his time was up, he went home with a light 
heart, sure that by sunset next day he would be with his 
beloved master. 

This went on for several weeks, and the dog, at any 
rate, would have been quite satisfied if it had gone on for 
ever. But one morning the magistrate was told that he 



392 DOGS OVER THE WATER 

was to be brought before his judges to make answer to 
his charge and receive his sentence. In the midst of a 
vast crowd, which dared not show sympathy even if it 
felt it, the magistrate pleaded for the last time, without a 
friend to give him courage except his dog, which had 
somehow forced himself through guards and crowd, and 
lay crouched between his legs, happy at this unexpected 
chance of seeing his master. 

Sentence of death was pronounced, as was inevitable, 
and the hour of execution was not long delayed. In the 
wonderful way that animals always do know when some- 
thing out of the common is passing, the spaniel was 
sitting outside the door when his master walked out for 
the last time, although it was long before the hour of his 
daily visit. Alone, of all the friends that he had known 
and loved, his dog went with him, and stood beside him 
on the steps of the guillotine, and sat at his feet when his 
head fell. Vaguely the spaniel was aware that something 
terrible had happened ; his master, who had never failed 
him before, would not speak to him now. It was in vain 
to lick his hand : he got no pat in answer. But if his 
master was asleep, and his bed was underground, then 
he too must sleep by his side till the morning came and 
the world awoke again. 

So two nights passed, and three. Then his friend, 
who had sheltered him during these long weeks, came to 
look for him, and, after much coaxing and caressing, per- 
suaded him to return to his old hiding-place. With great 
difficulty he was induced to swallow some food, but the 
moment his protector's back was turned, he rushed out 
and fought his way to his master's grave. 

This lasted for three months, and every day the dog 
looked sadder and thinner than the day before. At length 
his friend thought he would try a new plan with him, 
and tied him firmly up. But in the morning he found 
that the dog had, like Samson, broken through his bonds, 
and was lying on the grave, which he never left again. 



DOGS OVER THE WATER 393 

Food was brought to him — he never came to seek it him- 
self, and in time he refused even what was lying there 
before him. One day his friends found him trying to 
scratch up the earth where his master lay ; and all at 
once his strength gave way, and with one howl he died, 
showing the two men who stood around of love that was 
stronger than death, and fidelity that lasted beyond the 
grave. ^ 

One more story of a little dog — this time an English 
one — and I have done. 

It was on February 8, 1587, that Mary Queen of Scots 
ended her eighteen years of weary captivity upon a scaffold 
at Fotheringay. Carefully dressed in a robe of black velvet, 
with a long mantle of satin floating above it, and her head 
covered with a white crape veil, Mary ascended the plat- 
form, where the executioner was awaiting her. Some 
English nobles, sent by Queen Elizabeth to see that her 
orders were carried out, were standing by, and some of 
Queen Mary's faithful women. But besides these was one 
whose love for her was hardly less — the Queen's little 
dog, who had been her constant companion i^ the prison. 
' He was sitting there the whole time,' says an eye-witness, 
' keeping very quiet, and never stirring from her side ; 
but as soon as the head was stricken off and placed upon 
the seat, he began to bestir himself and cry out ; after- 
wards he took up a position between the body and the 
head, which he kept until some one came and removed 
him, and this had to be done by violence.' We are not 
told who took him away and tenderly washed off the 
blood of Mary which was staining his coat, but we may 
be sure that it was one of the Queen's ladies who cherished 
everything that belonged to her, and in memory of her 
mistress would care for her little dog to the end of its 
days. 

1 From Observations in Natural History. 



394 



THE CAPOCIER AND HIS MATE 



"When Vaillant the traveller was in Africa, he made the 
acquaintance of a bird to which he gave the name of 
capocier. It was a small creature, which was in the 
habit of coming with its mate several times a day into 
Vaillant's tent ; a proceeding which he thought arose 
from pure friendship, but which he soon found sprang 
from interested motives. Vaillant was making a collection 
of birds, and his table was strewn about with moss, wool, 
and such things as he used for stuffing. The capocier, 
with more sense than might have been expected of him, 
found out very soon that it was much easier to steal 
Vaillant's soft material than to collect it laboriously for 
himself, and the naturalist used to shut his eyes with 
amusement while the birds flew off with a parcel of stuff- 
ing as big as themselves. 

He followed them, and tracked them to a bush which 
grew by a spring in the corner of a deserted garden. Here 
they had placed a thick layer of moss, in a fork of one of 
the branches, and were now engaged in weaving in grass, 
cotton, and flax. The whole of the second day the little 
pair worked hard, the male making in all forty-six journeys 
to Vaillant's room, for thieving purposes. The spoil was 
always laid either on the nest itself, or within the reach 
of the female, and when enough had been collected, they 
both trampled it in, and pressed it down with their 
bodies. 

At last the male got tired, and tried to prevail on his 
wife to play a game. She declined, and said she had no 



THE CAPOCIER AND HIS MATE 395 

time for such things; so, to revenge himself, the male 
proceeded to pull to pieces her work. Seeing that he 
would have his own way, the female at length consented 
to play for a little, and fluttered from bush to bush, while 
her mate flew after her, but she always managed to keep 
just out of his reach. When he had had enough, he let 
her go back to her work, while he sang a song for a little, 
and then made ready to help build the nest. He found, 
or stole, the materials necessary, and carried them back 
to his wife, who packed them firmly in and made all tidy. 
But her husband was much more idle than she, and he 
soon tired of steady labour. He complained of the heat, 
and laughed at her for being in such a hurry, and said 
there was plenty of time before them, and he wanted a 
little fun. So eight times during that one morning the 
poor wife had to leave off her building, and hide her im- 
patience, and pretend to play, when she would much 
rather have been doing something else, and it was three 
days before the bottom was finished and the sides begun. 
Certainly the making of the bottom was rather a 
troublesome business ; for the birds had to roll over every 
part of it, so as to get it firm and hard. Then, when all 
was right, they made a border, which they first trimmed 
round, and next overlaid with cotton, pressing it all to- 
gether with their breasts and shoulders. The twigs of 
the bush in which the nest was built were interlaced into 
the sides to prevent the whole structure being blown 
down, and particular care was taken that none of them 
should stick out in the inside of the nest, which was 
absolutely smooth and solid. After seven days it was 
done, and very pretty it was. It was perfectly white in 
colour, and about nine inches high on the outside where 
it had been made very thick, and not more than five 
inches within. However that was quite big enough for 
two such little people. 



396 



OWLS AND MARMOTS 



It is curious, when we come to think of it, how very few 
of the creatures that live upon the earth ever take the 
trouble to build any kind of house to live in. For the most 
part, they are contented to find out some cave or hole or 
convenient place where they can be hidden, and from 
which they can steal forth to get their food, but as for 
collecting materials from the outside to make their 
dwelling place stronger or more beautiful, as do the 
beavers, for instance, why, we might all look for many 
years before we should find a horse or a tiger employing 
himself like that ! 

Yet we all know that all the birds that live (the 
cuckoo excepted) manage to build some kind of a nest, 
and so do some fishes and many insects. It would take 
too long to write about them all, but we will just see 
how some of the cleverest among them go to work. 

One of the first things that struck Europeans travel- 
ling sixty or seventy years ago in the wild country beyond 
the great Mississippi, was the fact that whole districts, 
sometimes several acres in extent and sometimes several 
miles, were covered with little mounds of the shape of a 
pyramid, about two feet wide at the bottom, and at 
the most eighteen inches high. These are the houses of 
the marmots or prairie dogs, and when deserted as they 
often are by their original inhabitants, they become the 
homes of burrowing owls. 

Now a neat, comfortable, well-built house is really quite 



OWLS AND MARMOTS 397 

necessary for the marmot, as he goes fast to sleep when 
the weather begins to get cold, and does not wake up till 
the sun is shining warmly again on the earth above him. 
Then he sets to work, either to repair the walls of his 
house which have been damaged by the heavy rains and 
hard frosts, or if that seems useless labour, to dig a fresh 
one somewhere else. But industrious as he is, the hard 
work does not make the marmot at all a ' dull boy,' and 
he can still spare time for a good game now and then. 

Of course, as we are talking about birds, perhaps we 
ought not to be describing marmots, which are naturally 
not birds at all ; but as they build for the burrowing owls 
to inhabit, a description of the houses may not be out of 
place. 

The entrance to the marmot's house is either at the 
top or on the side of the little mound above ground. 
Then he hollows out a passage straight down for one, or 
sometimes two feet, and this passage is continued in a 
sloping direction for some distance further, when it 
leads, like a story in the ' Arabian Nights,' into a large 
warm room, built of soft dry grass, which has been 
packed into a tight, firm mass. In general the outside of 
the little mounds is covered with small plants and 
grasses, so that the marmot always has his food near at 
hand, but occasionally they prefer to make their villages 
in barren spots, as being safer from enemies. Still, 
wherever they are, the sociable little colony of marmots 
are said to be haunted by at least one burrowing owl, a 
bird about nine inches long, and from a distance not very 
unlike the marmot itself, when it is sitting up, listening 
for the approach of danger. If no burrow seems likely to 
be vacant at the time he wants one, the owl does not 
scruple to turn out the owner, who has to begin all his 
labour over again. Sometimes, when affairs above ground 
are more than usually disturbed, and foes of all kinds are 
prowling about, seeking whom they may devour, owls and 
marmots and rattlesnakes, and lizards rush helter-skelter 



398 OWLS AND MARMOTS 

into the underground city, taking refuge from the dangers 
of the upper world. It would be a strange sight if we 
could see it, and it would be stranger still if the fugitives 
manage to separate without some of the party having 
gone to make the dinners of the rest. 



399 



EAGLES' NESTS 



Eagles, as a rule, build their nests on the shelves of 
rocks, high out of reach of any but the boldest climbers. 
There are, however, some species among them who prefer 
the tops of trees, at a height varying from fifteen to fifty 
feet. These nests are constructed of long sticks, grass, 
and even reeds, and are often as much ^s five or six feet 
high, and at least four broad. Soft pine tops form the 
lining, and a bed for the young. Many eagles are clever 
divers, and like the excitement of catching their own fish, 
instead of merely forcing the fish-hawks to give up their 
prey, and an American naturalist gives an interesting 
account of the sporting proceedings of two eagles on the 
Green River in Kentucky. The naturalist had been lying 
hidden among the rocks on the bank of the river for about 
two hours, when suddenly far above his head where the 
eagle had built his nest, he heard a loud hissing, and on 
looking up, saw that the little eaglets had crawled to 
the edge of the nest, and were dancing with hope 
and excitement at the idea of a good dinner. In a few 
moments the parent eagle reached the rock and balancing 
himself on the edge by the help of his wings and tail, 
handed over his spoil to the young ones. The little eagles 
seemed in luck that day, for soon their mother appeared 
in sight carrying in her claws a perch. But either the 
watcher below made some movement, or else her eyes 
were far sharper than her mate's, for with a loud cry she 



400 EAGLES' ^ESTS 

dropped her fish, and hovered over the nest to protect it 
in case of an attack. When all was quiet again, the 
naturalist went out cautiously to examine the perch, which 
he found to weigh as much as 5^ lbs. You do not catch 
such big perch in England. 



THE END. 



EJiTfiAL CIRCULAJ lOJ^*